Carol Muske, 1981
POETRY MISCELLANY: One of the most compelling aspects of your poetry is its search for origins that seem always already lost, deferred, deflected. "Coincidence," for example, presents a groping back to define a love in terms of the self's origins, to find the self and the other coming from the same origin: "I remember you / like the first extension of myself / in sunlight." But the search goes even "further back. The beginning of the body / in other bodies, the hall of mirrors / from which we are borne." The origin here is an endless labyrinth. Even in an earlier poem, "Birth," the "cypress, unbridled, give birth / to something lost, / something tricked in the wind's clear pitch-- / its bottomless circling." The speaker in "Coral Sea, 1945" tries to define her own origin by appropriating images from the outside world into her experience of existence in the womb. In "The Invention of Cuisine," too, the thrust is back toward an origin, this time toward an origin of the race, and toward an origin of imagination in our imagining back then. The origin is like the "presence" of gaps, absences, holes that "elude" the character in "Photographer." I suppose in this context that all poems become voices of desire.
CAROL MUSKE: I read somewhere that "birth canal" experiences, the whole process of birth, is a trauma from which we never fully recover. . .or remember. If you think about it, the notion of being thrust toward the unknown by contracting walls, pulled head or feet or God-knows-what first