Sleeping with the Dictionary.by Harryette Mullen University of California Press "UC Press" redirects here, but this is also an abbreviation for University of Chicago Press
University of California Press, also known as UC Press, is a publishing house associated with the University of California that engages in academic publishing. February 2002 $14.95, ISBN ISBN
International Standard Book Number
ISBN International Standard Book Number
ISBN n abbr (= International Standard Book Number) → ISBN m 0-520-23143-0
Contrived yet not overly predictable, Harryette Mullen's Sleeping With the Dictionary is a poetic exploration of language and linguistics from its literary origins. There is an almost mystical quality to the way language works in the book. Even when the reader doesn't definitively know what is going on, the structure and form of the language provide a sense of direction.
Mullen calls into question the way we gather meaning from language by presenting a wide range of linguistic forces converging in the poems written here. Those forces are: meaning, rhetoric, semantics, forms of discourse, and poetic devices, including alliteration alliteration (əlĭt'ərā`shən), the repetition of the same starting sound in several words of a sentence. Probably the most powerful rhythmic and thematic uses of alliteration are contained in Beowulf, , assonance assonance: see rhyme. , rhyme and the rest. What is different is Mullen's hip-hop sampling-like use of these devices. She mixes and matches quantum mechanics quantum mechanics: see quantum theory.
Branch of mathematical physics that deals with atomic and subatomic systems. It is concerned with phenomena that are so small-scale that they cannot be described in classical terms, and it is and karma under the title "Hitched to a Star." She travels through the body politic like bran in "Resistance Is Fertile."
If you get confused at all this, it is most likely on purpose. You are experiencing the blurred vision that comes from being in a place you've most likely never been before. You have to adjust to a change in the landscape of language and the way it works in a poem, a thoughtful reconstruction of the reference points you use to extract meaning.
Much of Sleeping With the Dictionary is a mining of the bed of language we constantly lie upon. Many of the poem's titles are careful twists on dead metaphors and other commonly used phrases. This is her art: to reconstruct, redefine and create out of splicing splicing /splic·ing/ (spli´sing)
1. the attachment of individual DNA molecules to each other, as in the production of chimeric genes.
2. RNA s. and stitching back together the pieces of meaning in language.
Mullen's retelling of "Goldilocks gold·i·locks
pl.n. (used with a sing. or pl. verb)
A European plant (Aster linosyris) having narrow sessile leaves and dense corymbs of small, bright yellow, discoid flower heads. and the Three Bears" in "European Folk Tale Variant" infuses the age-old discourse of the fairy tale with a modern-day discourse of the wayward youth-problem child. Words like trespassing, felony, vandalizing and phrases like "criminally negligent parents" become code words for describing the actions of the once-innocent Goldilocks. It is clear that the poem calls into question our ways of telling and defining stories, while at the same time creating the meaning of the story through an almost complete subversion of the original text.
It should be clear now why Mullen is a poet of "literary" and "academic" acclaim. Unfortunately, much of what is laudable these days can't be understood, and Mullen, at times, can be very difficult to understand.
At the heart of Mullen's literary technique is sampling--or what the academy calls intertexuality. This idea of laying down rhythm over rhythm, blending the familiar with old is nothing new. Restructuring and reworking, not just the melody or the notes, but the structure of the music itself, the style, the phrasing the whole thing is part and parcel of Mullen's oeuvre.
--Hoke S. Glover III, Bro. Yao, is a poet and graduate of the University of Maryland University of Maryland can refer to: