Laura Mullen is the author of Enduring Freedom: A Little Book of Mechanical Brides, The Surface, After I Was Dead, Subject, Dark Archive, The Tales of Horror, and Murmur. Recognitions for her poetry include Ironwood’s Stanford Prize, two Board of Regents ATLAS grants, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and a Rona Jaffe Award. Mullen is the McElveen Professor in English at Louisiana State University and a special interest delegate in Creative Writing for the Modern Language Association.
10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
State Capitol, House Committee Room 1
10:45 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Barnes & Noble Bookselling Tent
In a way (the way I’m taking it) Laura Mullen’s Complicated Grief follows (with giant dropouts) everything she knows about being a monster. Her aegis covers women (young ones and aging), un-natural disasters and literature. If something packed could wander like Julianne Moore’s mind, to the benefit of everyone, but more like a whole department store or a library feeling snarky, shuffled itself and somehow it was wise. — Eileen Myles
From the Internet, I learn that "complicated grief" designates a bereavement disorder in which, instead of fading with time, the pain of loss remains as acute as it was in the beginning. But from Laura Mullen’s book I learn that complicated grief also names something else: not a sufferer’s excruciating condition, but a writer’s exhilarating achievement. Here, the incapacity to move on from "old" psychic scenarios has been itself complicated by a formidable prose that not only refuses to get over them but even works to revive them in all their undying (Mullen would say: undead) vigor. To these unstintingly re-imagined ancient histories—ranging from fairy tale and yesteryear’s news item to childhood trauma and grownup broken heart—Mullen gives all the hyperrealist precision of a dream: every turn and phrase starts at you. And not the least of this book’s disconcerting, but strangely salutary, powers is that, under its stimulus, you can’t help starting back. — D.A. Miller
One of the deep pleasures of this book is to be in the presence of a mind fully alive to the contradictions of what it is to be a sentient being, thinking and feeling while simultaneously thinking of feeling. I found myself marveling word-by-word, page after page. One thought: How often are we offered the opportunity to watch a mind form the mental construct we call "a thought," and why is it so rare? The world is here, seeping brilliantly through the seams, made utterly new. — Nick Flynn
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