Published by Open Road Media
National Book Award finalist Carol Muske-Dukes explores joy, dread, and the solitary communion of applause

Applause provides twenty vivid and evocative poems by Carol Muske-Dukes. In “Dream,” she seeks the past in reverie, along with bicoastal riffs on New York City and Los Angeles. “The Eulogy” paints the scene of a funeral in sunny California where a young man who has died of AIDS is laid to rest. In the title poem, a twelve-part journey through the ritual of applause, Muske-Dukes examines the power of a gesture—clapping—to transform oneself from individual to communal. “What a strange phenomenon,” she says, “to be single and plural at once, to feel joy and dread simultaneously, to wish to acknowledge publicly one’s anonymity.”

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