Written out in layers, like music, the dead Residue — ash gray at the reach, or
smoke — Begins where it ends: under the over- Flow vent's chrome cover, the
name Brand of the fixtures apparently forever Stamped into my distorted,
Author: Laura Mullen
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
This powerful collection of poems from Laura Mullen is the edgy, unashamedly experimental, and formally inventive book of a poet who has found her way to her own voice or style--or rather voices and styles, for there are several. The poems of After I Was Dead develop harmonically rather than melodically: they leap from one register, one voice, one tone to another in deft juxtapositions that carry narrative only incidentally, destabilizing traditional notions of development. These poems are honed by a fine intelligence into elegant, sometimes funny art, as in “Autumn”: “Her hair, brown. / Her specialty, damage. / Her specialty, becoming / Something else. Her hair, falling / Leaves, leaf rot, and then soil.” Through her rediscovery of the freedom Emily Dickinson located in being “dead” (in writing from over the border of an already recognized erasure), Mullen increases the territory of the contemporary poem.