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The Tales of Horror

The Tales of Horror


Laura Mullen


    1999, 108 pages

    ISBN 0-932716-48-2



    The Tales of Horror, Laura Mullen's clever postmodern gothic, is a literary tour de force. Here enter the stock elements of the generic horror tale: the haunted house, the doctor, the down-to-earth gardener, the chatty housemaid, the sunny morning and dark portentous night. At the center, a beautiful woman is dead. But is she? The prose tale is disassembled to offer alternate readings—as a story, as a flipbook, and as a text scored for old and familiar voices.



    Poet Laura Mullen was born in Los Angeles in 1958. She earned her BA at the University of California, Berkeley and MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her collections of poetry include Enduring Freedom (2012), DarkArchive (2011), Murmur (2007), Subject (2005), After I Was Dead (1999), The Tales of Horror (1999), and The Surface (1991), which was a National Poetry Series selection. Known for writing book-length and hybrid texts, Mullen’s work has been praised for its wild invention and play. Her poems are included in anthologies such as American Hybrid (2009), The Arcadia Project: North American Postmodern Pastoral (2012), and I’ll Drown My Book: Conceptual Writing by Women (2012), among others. The composer Jason Eckardt’s setting of her poem “The Distance (This)” was released as Undersong by Mode records in 2011.

    Mullen’s many honors and awards include foundations from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rona Jaffe Foundation, and the MacDowell Colony. She is the recipient of the Ironwood’s Stanford Prize and a Creative Writing special interest delegate for the Modern Language Association. Mullen teaches in the Summer Writing Program at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poets at Naropa and is the McElveen Professor in English at Louisiana State University.


    A brilliant, utterly original, fully realized work that wickedly out-tropes horror's cliches and devices . . . wonderfully immediate, making an exaggerated, rollicking introduction to many of the preoccupations, rhetorics, and methods of experimental poetry.

    — Publishers Weekly, August 1999



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