Identity Poetics

English 685 ~ Fall 2001 ~ Susan Tichy 

Week 5: Sept 24: 
Write Yourself Out of the Box: Harryette Mullen

Harryette Mullen will read on campus on Sunday, September 23 
at 12:30 in George's Restarurant in the Johnson Center,
as part of the Fall for the Book festival. 

Poems  ~ Secondary  ~ Quotes ~ General Schedule ~ Back to Week 4 ~ On to Week 6


Core Reading: Poems:

Harreyette Mullen:
Muse & Drudge

Mullen: from Trimmings 1187, from S*Perm**K*T 1188

Core Reading: Interviews & Secondary:
Harryette Mullen gives a great interview, speaking eloquently about her life, her work, language, poetry, code-switching, and tradition. All her interviews are The Bedient interview (photocopied) deals in the most detail with Muse & Drudge, but the others contain a lot of good, wide-ranging discussion. 

Read all of these:


Mullen: Mysterioso Blues: An Interview with Calvin Bedient re: Muse & Drudge
Erica Hunt: Notes for an Oppositional Poetics (on black experimental poetics)


EPC: Mullen: Interview w/ Cynthia Hogue, from Postmodern Culture

Poetry & the Public Sphere (PPS): A large & extremely high quality set of papers on subjects as various as experimental feminist poetics, Irish women poets, Black British poets, & Susan Howe's treatment of Shakespeare. Contributors include Amiri Baraka, Bob Perelman, charles Altieri, Elizabeth Frost, Amitavar Kumar, & our own Zofia Burr. Read: “A Poetics of Opposition?: Race and the Avant-Garde.” -- Kate Pearcy's excellent (and short!) discussion of Mullen’s challenge to the assumed opposition between L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetry and poetry of the voice. 

Instructor's Notes on Henry Louis Gates, Jr.'s Signifying Monkey

Additional Sources: Web:

Mullen: Interview w/ Barbara Hemming: St. Marks Poetry Project 
Much is redundant with the EPC interview, but it does include explanations of some formal and textual allusions in Muse and Drudge not mentioned in the other interviews, and a bit on writing techniques.

Elizabeth Frost: Signifyin(g) on Stein: The Revisionist Poetics of Harryette Mullen and Leslie Scalapino.  This excellent essay (from Postmodern Culture)on  i argues that Mullen (like Scalapino) uses a fundamentally Steinien language to engage with social issues Stein herself avoided. Her work thus merges public speech and “private” experience in a new poetics that renders identity and the erotic as not only linguistically but socially constructed.

PPS: Elizabeth Frost: Experimental Feminist Poetics and the Rhetoric of Public Discourse
Shorter, similar in content, but includes Mullen’s S*Perm*K*T and a third poet, Susan Howe.

Mike Jackman: “Harryette Mullen's écriture féminine.” Twentieth Century Literature Conference. Februrary 26-28, 1998, University of Louisville. 

Harryette Mullen. “Not Struck Dumb but Logodaedalyly Phonofounded: The Vernacular Heteroglossaries of Fran Ross's OREO.” However 1:2 (1999) Note: though it’s Rutgers, this is NOT the PPS site. This paper’s opening remarks includes a list of Black Women avant-garde writers & poets.

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