Sleeping with the Dictionary

Sleeping with the Dictionary

4.0 1
by Harryette Mullen
     
 

ISBN-10: 0520231430

ISBN-13: 9780520231436

Pub. Date: 02/22/2002

Publisher: University of California Press

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 àtrois with these faithful companions, the poet is aware that while Roget seems obsessed with categories…  See more details below

Overview

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 àtrois 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."

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520231436
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
02/22/2002
Series:
New California Poetry Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
85
Sales rank:
604,437
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.50(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
All She Wrote3
The Anthropic Principle4
Any Lit6
Ask Aden8
Between9
Bilingual Instructions10
Black Nikes11
Blah-Blah12
Bleeding Hearts14
Bolsa Algodon15
Coals to Newcastle, Panama Hats from Ecuador16
Coo/Slur17
Daisy Pearl18
Denigration19
Dim Lady20
Dream Cycle21
Ectopia22
Elliptical23
European Folk Tale Variant24
Eurydice26
Exploring the Dark Content27
Fancy Cortex28
Free Radicals29
The Gene for Music30
Hitched to a Star33
Jinglejangle34
Junk Mail44
Kamasutra Sutra45
Kirstenography46
The Lunar Lutheran48
Mantra for a Classless Society, or Mr. Roget's Neighborhood49
Music for Homemade Instruments50
Naked Statues51
Natural Anguish52
Once Ever After53
O, 'Tis William54
Outside Art56
Present Tense57
Quality of Life58
Resistance Is Fertile60
She Swam On from Sea to Shine61
Sleeping with the Dictionary67
Souvenir from Anywhere68
Suzuki Method69
Swift Tommy70
Ted Joans at the Cafe Bizarre71
Transients72
Variation on a Theme Park75
Way Opposite76
We Are Not Responsible77
Why You and I78
Wino Rhino79
Wipe That Simile Off Your Aphasia80
Xenophobic Nightmare in a Foreign Language81
X-ray Vision83
Zen Acorn84
Zombie Hat85

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Sleeping with the Dictionary 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago