Sleeping with the Dictionary

ISBN-10: 0520231430
ISBN-13: 9780520231436
Edition: 2002
Authors: Harryette Mullen
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Description: 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  More...

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Book details

List price: $23.95
Copyright year: 2002
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 2/22/2002
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 98
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.25" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.528
Language: English

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 meacute;nage agrave; 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."

Born in Alabama, Harryette Mullen grew up in Texas, and has lived in New Mexico, New York, and California. She currently teaches African American literature, American poetry, and creative writing courses at UCLA.

Acknowledgments
All She Wrote The Anthropic Principle Any Lit Ask Aden
Between Bilingual Instructions Black Nikes Blah-Blah
Bleeding Hearts Bolsa Algodon
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. Roget's
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 Cafe 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

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