Calvin Bedient calls the poetry in this volume "solid and brave and relentlessly inventive." Forrest Gander says, "The obsessive force of this poetry, ruptured by caesura and stanza, is remarkable. Despite the considerable intellectual torque, the poems, concerned always with identity, the borders of the I and the Here, are quite funny in passages. The drama of this work is gripping, convulsive, and intense."
Subject holds the mirror up to language, attempting to find out (and find ways out of ) the limits of the wor(l)ds we are sentenced to. The lyric impulse exists, but the surface is rough, reflecting the violence of the effort to see into seeing itself: the voice is ragged, syntax is torn, words have been broken into syllable and sound, images dissolve, the page holds out alternate visions and versions (in double or triple columns), leaving any would-be univocal truth always in doubt.
Late & Soon
Lying in It
Glaces à Répétition
Flowers Formed of Needles
Story for Reproduction
The Squeaky Wheel
Arose (Read As) A
(Among) The Accomplice's Accomplishments
Railroad History (Practice Text)
The Distance (This)
Context & Subtexts
Laura Mullen teaches at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. Her first collection of poems, The Surface (1991), was chosen as a National Poetry Series selection; her second collection, After I Was Dead (1999), was selected for the University of Georgia Press Contemporary Poetry Series. She is also the author of The Tales of Horror (Kelsey Street Press, 1999).
"To write today in English means using an idiom that is hegemonic, 'globalized,' no longer national. Vacated. A human, though, is necessarily sited, and here we find Mullen's Subject. Its movement open to both '(gone) and suture,' it grasps an anxiety in American speech too often covered over by Americans, though it's visible in the world. To cite Agamben: 'the ethical subject is a subject that bears witness to a desubjectivization.' Mullen's 'subject' is not one of triumphalism; it articulates the 'no-one,' ninguén, the 'not-even-who' that generates being's fibre, its viscosity, presence. In Mullen, 'Belonging to a body/To itself unrecognizable' is followed by 'Open the doors. Here.' Her 'here' is poetry that American English needs."—Erin Mouré