Disordering the Border: Harryette Mullen's Transaborder Poetics in Muse & Drudge

Jennifer Andrea Reimer


This essay reads Harryette Mullen's epic poem, Muse & Drudge, as an innovative text of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands by focusing on her literal and figurtive transactions between multiple discourses, including Spanish, and the corresponding sets of material conditions these discourses conjure to understand how Muse & Drudge reveals the ongoing racialization and exploitation of African American women and Latinas. I indentify a "transaborder politics" in Muse Drudge where the shared colonial histories unite Afro-Caribbean diasporic and borderlands subjects, and in the literal and figurative transactions between multiple discourses and the corresponding sets of lived, material conditions these discourses conjure. As part of her poetics, themes of separation, definition, and regulation are racialized concepts, deeply embedded in the violent histories of racial mixing and mestizaje that are both named outright and also alluded to metaphorically through Mullen's hybridized language.


Harryette Mullen, African American Poetry, Experimental American Poetry, U.S.-Mexico Borderlands, Feminism

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The Johns Hopkins University Press

ISSN: 1920-1222

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