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“There is no frigate like a book”: Carol Muske-Dukes and the value of memorizing poetry

Courtesy Carol Muske-Dukes

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A mother pushes her daughter on a swing, reciting a line of Robert Louis Stevenson’s, “How do you like to go up in a swing, up in the air so blue?” The daughter replies with the rest of the stanza, “Oh, I do think it’s the pleasantest thing ever a child can do!” This year a poet, Tomas Transtomer, won the Nobel Prize in Literature, and with the award ceremony taking place this weekend, California’s Poet Laureate Carol Muske-Dukes joins Patt to talk about the importance of not just reading, but memorizing and reciting poetry in today’s digital-visual age. If we’re lucky, she’ll share more stories about her poetry-filled childhood, too.


Carol Muske-Dukes, California’s Poet Laureate, professor, Enlgish and Creative Writing University of Southern California