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poetry for fashionistas: trimmings by harryette mullen

i recently bought harryette mullen's recyclopedia, an anthology of 3 of her books of poetry: Trimmings, S*PeRM**K*T, and Muse & Drudge.

i've read muse & drudge, and it was a bit over my head. they say it is the book that is inspired by hip hop. she's clever in it, she manipulates language masterfully - but i'm not always sure what it means, if anything. i haven't yet read S*PeRM**K*T, so i won't comment on it.

but i am a complete believer in trimmings. it's all about women and their clothing and their relationships to their clothing and the world's relationship to women and their clothing. which is something i always love to read about. my collection of fashion magazines is actually shameful in its depth. i read fashion blogs. i shop too much. because i love and i hate women's clothing.

i'm also currently infatuated with prose poetry, trimmings is actually one long prose poem. here's one of the entries:

Lips, clasped together. Old leather fastened with a little snap. Strapped, broke. Quick snatch, in a clutch, chased the lady with the alligator purse. Green thief, off relief, got into her pocketbook by hook or by crook.

aside from the lovely rhyme, the double entendre is incredible. upon reading this, i was immediately reminded of the scene in maya angelou's i know why the caged bird sings, when young marguerite has her conversation with her glamourous mother about her ladyparts. she calls them, 'her pocketbook.' her mother immediately interrupts her, tells her not to use the southern, country euphemisms to go ahead and use the word vagina if that's what she means.

the green thief gets into the pocketbook. remember when you were a little girl, and you mother always reminded you to be a lady, keep your legs closed? you're also supposed to keep your purse closed. how interesting. what is it our mothers are telling us?

harryette mullen writes really rich poems that are really economical on words. i have a very short attention span, so, much as i love language, i don't love wordiness. give her a read - it won't take long to read, but it will give you something to think about long after.

at any rate, i highly recommend. and since we're talking about pocketbooks, i mean handbags, i might as well post one here:

Erva Woven Flower Metallic Pouchette Box

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