When Curled into a good book, it takes a truly witty or moving turn of phrase to pull me away from the next morsel in order to take notes, or to mark a passage. Yet, something in Carol Muske-Dukes word choice, her deft execution of the trickster form, the seductive way she turns a poem on the reader and leaves them as exposed as the subject matter, left me marking passages again and again, notating over and over, "yes! this is exactly how it feels," or "Mrs. L. needs to read this." Twenty-two times she caught me, brought me up short, and sent me scrambling for a way to remember her words and the way they made me feel in that moment.
Her word choice in The Painter's Daughter, "Coaxing the murder that no one saw from the stubborn evidence of light." It's visceral, full bodied, and yet somehow alienating. When she writes about the opium trip of a man who seems to has lost his lover, perhaps his wife in a car accident that was his fault, but that he can't escape the pain and guilt of, the poem begins so inconspicuously, but ends so painfully and hauntingly, it's like a scab you can't help but pick.
Her writing puts me in mind of Margaret Atwood, and will stay with me. Her work is uncomfortable, explores, child loss, abandonment, violence, abuse, gender identity, and ivory tower feminism. It certainly won't be everyone's cup of tea, but for those moved but such tea, it is strong tea.
Skylight is published by Open Road Integrated Media and is available on Amazon.
I recieved a free review copy through Netgalley.