Elisabeth A. Frost, "Signifyin(g) on Stein: The Revisionist Poetics of Harryette Mullen and Leslie Scalapino"

For the full text of the article, click here. Here is an abstract:

     ABSTRACT: This article takes Stein as one (if not the
     only) source for feminist avant-garde poetry--writing that
     uses experimental language to distinctly feminist ends.  A
     number of recent feminist poets owe a debt to _Tender
     Buttons_, and Stein's work remains a subject of homage.
     But, changes working their way through feminist thought
     appear in some feminist avant-garde writing that doesn't
     simply acknowledge Stein's language experiments but
     contests them as well.  I examine the influence of, and
     divergence from, Steinian poetics in Harryette Mullen and
     Stein's "modern" vision by merging "public" speech and      
     "private" experience--the language of the public spheres of
     the street and the marketplace with the experiences of
     intimacy and the erotic.  Mullen and Scalapino blur the
     border between public and private discourse that Stein
     relied upon in order to reveal (and, paradoxically, *not*
     reveal) her lesbian sexuality in a revolution of ordinary
     domestic language.  In response in part to Stein, each poet
     illuminates language as a locus of the political and the
     erotic, altering both eroticized and "public" language as
     signs of a culture in need of a fundamental awareness about
     the relationships between our most private and public acts.


Document URL: http://www.english.upenn.edu/~afilreis/88/frost-on-stein.html
Last modified: Thursday, 24-Jun-2010 13:26:48 EDT