The Tales of Horror: [A Flip-Book]

Laura Mullen, Author Kelsey Street Press $14 (107p) ISBN 978-0-932716-48-4
A brilliant, utterly original, fully realized work that wickedly out-tropes horror's clich s and devices, Mullen's third book follows with surprising speed her After I Was Dead, published by the University of Georgia this past spring. The standard tale of a haunted house replete with stock characters speaking formulaic lines is disassembled to become an exploration of sexual roles, francophilia, literary decorum and the limits (if any) of quotation, modern icons, ancient archetypes--and our ways of knowing anything about any of them. Mullen swoops in and out of metaphor to poke fun at the gothic genre, and celebrate its astonishing versatility: ""I had begun to feel I had to find a beginning or/ To `find my way back to the beginning,' not,/ Of course, la m me chose. `But none of these people,'/ She sobbed, brokenly,/ `Seem real at all to me.' I picked them up, one by one/ And gave them a good shaking./ `We'll get that ticker working again in no time.'/ Thinking, not saying, I hope not."" The book is clearly the product of an astonishing amount of reading (and indeed several reader's reports grafted into the text bespeak time spent at the slush pile) with the choicest textual morsels lovingly altered and grafted into loose, propulsive verse-sentences. Mysterious fluids, blood curdelling screams, inappropriately all-caps sentences--they're all here, and wonderfully immediate, making an exaggerated, rollicking introduction to many of the pre-occupations, rhetorics and methods of experimental poetry. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 05/03/1999
Release date: 05/01/1999
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