Applause is a collection of poems about joy and dread–mirroring the extremes of the contemporary American experience. Joy is defined in motherhood, self-conscious love, friendship–while dread is described through an accelerating sense of doom, and the failure of nearly all prescriptive political solutions to the world’s problems. The overall mood is one of bravado in the face of ruin–the metaphor of applause, standing there clapping, well-intentioned in a crumbling world.
A carefully cultivated gift for phrase-making that converts accurate observation into decisive declaration.
Ah, that wonderful, rare thing: a poet who has the ability to deepen the secrets of experience even while revealing them.
Carol Muske is one of the best poets of her generation. . . . [Her poetry] is emotionally rich without being sentimental or exhibitionist or indulgent; it is psychologically complicated without being neurotic or showing signs of repression; it is aware of and alert to the persent world without being polemical. Further, it manifests a regard for clarity and exactness which I find rare.
Carol Muske has taught in the graduate writing programs at Columbia University, the Iowa Writers’ Workshops, the University of California at Irvine, and the University of Virginia. Her first book of poems, Camouflage, was published in 1975 by the University of Pittsburgh Press, followed by Skylight (1981) and Wyndmere (1985). Among her awards are the 1979 Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award of the Poetry Society of America, and a 1981 National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship.