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About this poet

Laura Mullen was born in Los Angeles in 1958. She received her BA in English from University of California, Berkeley, and her MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. 

Mullen is the author of several books of poetry, most recently Complicated Grief (Solid Objects, 2015), Enduring Freedom: A Little Book of Mechanical Brides (Otis Books, 2012), and Dark Archive (University of California Press, 2011). Her first book, The Surface (University of Illinois Press, 1991), was chosen as a National Poetry Series selection.

She is the recipient of Ironwood’s Frank Stanford Prize and a Rona Jaffe Award, as well as fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the National Endowment for the Arts. Mullen is the McElveen Professor in English at Louisiana State University, where she also directs the creative writing program.


Selected Bibliography

Complicated Grief (Solid Objects, 2015)
Enduring Freedom: A Little Book of Mechanical Brides (Otis Books, 2012)
Dark Archive (University of California Press, 2011)
Murmur (Futurepoem, 2007)
Subject (University of California Press, 2005)
After I Was Dead (University of Georgia Press, 1999)
The Tales of Horror (Kelsey St. Press, 1999)
The Surface (University of Illinois Press, 1991)

Empty

Laura Mullen, 1958

Huge crystalline cylinders emerge from the water

The future

Where do they come from the King gushes these talking fish
Show me at once

We see the writer buried under a collapsing mountain of scribbled-over
papers
While ink blurts from an overturned bottle

Speech is silver the King mutters
Silence is

They discover a fabulous ancient city

Black lake
Flag of smoke

Where we turned to look

Skulls, bats, stars, spirals, lightning bolts
Words spoken in anger
Flowers for sarcasm

The sequence continued to work in references to the brevity of life

Garlands of flowers
Stars signaling physical impact

They discover a fabulous ancient city
Under the water
None of the inhabitants

'Be reasonable . . .'

Increasingly faint trace of inked 
Flowers delicate

After that 

Cat catch
The decree

Eradicate

Copyright © 2005 by Laura Mullen. From Subject. Reprinted with permission of the University of California Press.

Copyright © 2005 by Laura Mullen. From Subject. Reprinted with permission of the University of California Press.

Laura Mullen

Laura Mullen

Laura Mullen is the author of several collections of poetry, including Complicated Grief​ (Solid Objects, 2015).

by this poet

poem
Object: tiny white box the size of a sugar cube,
White outside like a sugar cube white like like
Easily mistaken for a sugar cube, placed in a bowl full of white
Sugar cubes after being first touched with glue and then rolled in white
Sugar (Domino brand) and allowed to dry thoroughly. Hole
Barely larger