Poet Holly Mattox, hell-bent on inspiring female convicts to write poetry, bluffs her way past the pimps at the gates of the Women's House of Detention on Rikers Island and squares off with a classroom full of talented toughs. Way more fun than it sounds, and the inmates' poetry is stunning. Carol Muske-Dukes (who actually founded the first creative writing program at Rikers in the 1970s) proves in her new novel, Channeling Mark Twain
(Random House), that nobody's tougher or more tender than a hard-core poet with a social agenda.
— Cathleen Medwick