Laura Mullen

Sustained and heightened

Laura Mullen on 'Complicated Grief'

Note: Laura Mullen’s Complicated Grief was published by Solid Objects in November 2015. Composed of eight sections, these lyrically unsettled and unsettling prose poems take the reader across multiple modalities of romantic/sexual love (or what passes in that guise), prying open the silence and shame of love’s aftermath, or its “complicated grief.” After a preface, “Demonst(e)ration,” Mullen begins in the immediate collapse of a relationship (or several), lovers coming apart, then moves to fairy tale as cultural premise and on to Jane Eyre, archetypal Little Red and Grandma, a harrowing memoir of molestation, the toxic revenge of Ms. Havisham the jilt, and, finally, the virulent grief of another jilt, Terry Barton, who set the Colorado Hayman Fire of 2002 that killed six people and burned 138,000 acres.

On the convergence of war and wedding (PoemTalk #70)

Laura Mullen, 'Bride of the New Dawn'


Amy Paeth, Michelle Taransky, and Steve McLaughlin met up with PoemTalk’s host Al Filreis to talk about one of the poems in Laura Mullen’s book Enduring Freedom: A Little Book of Mechanical Brides (Otis Books, 2012). Enduring Freedom is a coherent project; its poems constitute a series — a number of approaches to the problem of war’s strange but also surprisingly obvious and true convergence with weddings (and wedding planning in particular). The poem we chose is “Bride of the New Dawn.” Our recording of Mullen’s performance of the poem comes from a reading she gave in October 2012, in Berkeley, as recorded by Ross Craig; it was a reading in which she read fifteen of the Enduring Freedom poems.

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