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New California Poetry #4: Sleeping with the Dictionary

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New California Poetry #4: Sleeping with the Dictionary Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Harryette Mullen's fifth poetry collection, Sleeping with the Dictionary, is the abecedarian offspring of her collaboration with two of the poet's most seductive writing partners, Roget's Thesaurus and The American Heritage Dictionary. In her ménage à trois with these faithful companions, the poet is aware that while Roget seems obsessed with categories and hierarchies, the American Heritage, whatever its faults, was compiled with the assistance of a democratic usage panel that included black poets Langston Hughes and Arna Bontemps, as well as feminist author and editor Gloria Steinem. With its arbitrary yet determinant alphabetical arrangement, its gleeful pursuit of the ludic pleasure of word games (acrostic, anagram, homophone, parody, pun), as well as its reflections on the politics of language and dialect, Mullen's work is serious play. A number of the poems are inspired or influenced by a technique of the international literary avant-garde group Oulipo, a dictionary game called S+7 or N+7. This method of textual transformation--which is used to compose nonsensical travesties reminiscent of Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky"--also creates a kind of automatic poetic discourse.

Mullen's parodies reconceive the African American's relation to the English language and Anglophone writing, through textual reproduction, recombining the genetic structure of texts from the Shakespearean sonnet and the fairy tale to airline safety instructions and unsolicited mail. The poet admits to being "licked all over by the English tongue," and the title of this book may remind readers that an intimate partner who also gives language lessons is called, euphemistically, a "pillow dictionary."

Review:

"In Mullen's playful poetic world, words are always puns. They point a thousand different ways at once. Here, she is sleeping with the enemy: the dictionary. The dictionary ties words down to certain definitions, and Harryette has fun in bed with it." Adam Munsey Tobin, Pegasus Books Downtown, Berkeley, CA

About the Author

Harryette Mullen is Associate Professor of English and African American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is the author of Tree Tall Woman (1981), Trimmings (1991), S*PeRM**K*T (1992), and Muse and Drudge (1995).

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

All She Wrote

The Anthropic Principle

Any Lit

Ask Aden

Between

Bilingual Instructions

Black Nikes

Blah-Blah

Bleeding Hearts

Bolsa Algodón

Coals to Newcastle, Panama Hats from Ecuador

Coo/Slur

Daisy Pearl

Denigration

Dim Lady

Dream Cycle

Ectopia

Elliptical

European Folk Tale Variant

Eurydice

Exploring the Dark Content

Fancy Cortex

Free Radicals

The Gene for Music

Hitched to a Star

Jinglejangle

Junk Mail

Kamasutra Sutra

Kirstenography

The Lunar Lutheran

Mantra for a Classless Society, or Mr. Rogets Neighborhood

Music for Homemade Instruments

Naked Statues000

Natural Anguish

Once Ever After

O, Tis William

Outside Art

Present Tense

Quality of Life

Resistance Is Fertile

She Swam On from Sea to Shine

Sleeping with the Dictionary

Souvenir from Anywhere

Suzuki Method

Swift Tommy

Ted Joans at the Café Bizarre

Transients

Variation on a Theme Park

Way Opposite

We Are Not Responsible

Why You and I

Wino Rhino

Wipe That Simile Off Your Aphasia

Xenophobic Nightmare in a Foreign Language

X-ray Vision

Zen Acorn

Zombie Hat

Product Details

ISBN:
9780520231436
Author:
Mullen, Harryette Romell
Publisher:
University of California Press
Author:
Mullen, Harryette
Location:
Berkeley
Subject:
Language and languages
Subject:
African Americans
Subject:
American - African American
Subject:
General Poetry
Subject:
Poetry/African American
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Series:
New California poetry ;
Series Volume:
04
Publication Date:
20020231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
85
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 x 0.5 in 5 oz

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Architecture » General
Arts and Entertainment » Art » History and Criticism
Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » American » African American
Science and Mathematics » Energy » General

New California Poetry #4: Sleeping with the Dictionary New Trade Paper
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Product details 85 pages University of California Press - English 9780520231436 Reviews:
"Review" by , "In Mullen's playful poetic world, words are always puns. They point a thousand different ways at once. Here, she is sleeping with the enemy: the dictionary. The dictionary ties words down to certain definitions, and Harryette has fun in bed with it."
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