As painful as it sounds, the commodification of Gertrude Stein is not a detrimental process, but more a process of evolution. Authors such as Harryette Mullen, take rolling pins to appropriation and intertextuality, flattening, extending, reshaping, and re-baking that which has come before, stretching new texts into realms beyond postmodernism.
My writing has been overtly influenced by Gertrude Stein, and is increasingly influenced by those who, not only pay homage to, but also write back to, and revolutionise Stein. And Mullen’s Recyclopedia does all of this and more!
Recyclopedia is a book that does exactly as its title suggests: an encyclopaedia referencing, through recycling, various art forms. As mentioned above, it is widely accepted that Recyclopedia pays homage and critiques the work of Gertrude Stein and the Language poets; however, this book extends beyond fanatical appropriation and intertextuality.
Mullen twists and pushes appropriation and intertextuality, reaching new discursive limits, practically forming a genre of her own, redefining concepts of homage and critique. Through recycling historical subversive and experimental techniques, Recyclopedia is a uniquely familiar text that is equally (if not more) destabilising, and yet less confounding, than Tender Buttons or much of the work of the Language poets, making Mullen’s poetry immediately more accessible to a vast range of readers.
Hear Mullen read from Recyclopedia below.
Download PDF to read my full review of Recyclopedia: Trimmings, S*PeRM**KT, and Muse & Drudge Harryette Mullen