Harryette Mullen's 5th poetry assortment, Sleeping with the Dictionary, is the abecedarian offspring of her collaboration with of the poet's such a lot seductive writing companions, Roget's word list and The American history Dictionary. In her ménage à trois with those trustworthy partners, the poet is familiar with that whereas Roget seems passionate about different types and hierarchies, the American history, whatever its faults, used to be compiled with the help of a democratic utilization panel that integrated black poets Langston Hughes and Arna Bontemps, in addition to feminist writer and editor Gloria Steinem. With its arbitrary but determinant alphabetical association, its gleeful pursuit of the ludic excitement of note video games (acrostic, anagram, homophone, parody, pun), in addition to its reflections at the politics of language and dialect, Mullen's paintings is critical play. a few of the poems are encouraged or inspired by means of a strategy of the foreign literary avant-garde staff Oulipo, a dictionary video game referred to as S+7 or N+7. this system of textual transformation--which is used to compose nonsensical travesties such as Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky"--also creates one of those computerized poetic discourse.

Mullen's parodies reconceive the African American's relation to the English language and Anglophone writing, via textual copy, recombining the genetic constitution of texts from the Shakespearean sonnet and the fairy story to airline defense directions and direct mail. The poet admits to being "licked in all places by way of the English tongue," and the name of this booklet may perhaps remind readers that an intimate accomplice who additionally provides language classes is named, euphemistically, a "pillow dictionary."

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