Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Aimless Reading: The M's, Part 61.1 (Harryette Mullen)

Muse & Drudge by Michael_Kelleher
Muse & Drudge, a photo by Michael_Kelleher on Flickr.
Mullen, Harryette
Muse & Drudge


Purchased at Talking Leaves…Books. Inscribed by the author:

Mike--

It's been good to meet
And talk in Buffalo!

-Harryette Mullen
1998


Harryette came to read during my first year in the Poetics Program. I remember going to dinner with her at an Indian restaurant that used to be on Elmwood Avenue. Surprisingly, only two or three students actually came to dinner. I remember it being myself, Nick Lawrence, and maybe one other person -- Taylor Brady, perhaps? Brent Cunningham? I can't recall.

I remember talking to her about how she composed this book, which is essentially an eighty-page poem written in quatrains. She said she wrote it one quatrain at a time, each composed discretely.
I remember also reading the poem and being amazed at both the musicality and the wit. It's a pretty astounding achievement. One of my favorite books of the nineties, for sure!
from Muse & Drudge

the royal yellow sovereign
a fragile grass stained widow
black veins hammered gold
folded hands applaud above a budding

flat back green and easy
stacked for salt meat seasoning
some fat on that rack
might make her more tasty

a frayed on way slave's
sassy fast sashay
fastens her smashing essay
sad to say yes unless

your only tongue turns
me loose excuse my french
native speakers opening act
a tight clench in the dark theater

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