"Laura Mullen proceeds from near void into a powerful reconstruction of self. . . . After I Was Dead is wildly versatile formally, restlessly roving from verse to prose to epistle and back."
"After I Was Dead possesses a quiet intertextuality that helps support the central concept of drifting between boundaries."
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.
Page count: 120 pp. Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5
List price: $19.95
Laura Mullen is a professor of creative writing at Louisiana State University. Her other books of poetry include Subject and The Surface, the latter of which was selected for publication in the prestigious National Poetry Series. Her poems have appeared in many major literary journals including the New Yorker, New American Writing, Boston Literary Review, and the Denver Quarterly.