Review #12: ‘Urban Tumbleweed’ by Harryette Mullen

harryette-mullen
  • COLDFRONT RATING: two
  • PUBLISHED BY: Graywolf Press, 2014
  • REVIEW BY: Timothy Liu

Urban Tumbleweed

James Merrill once famously said that reading too many short poems all at once is like being nibbled to death by goldfish; that’s one simile; here’s another: if my mind were like a barbed wire fence, few, if any, of these urban tumbleweeds are sticking; what falls flat here again and again is that you need an ah-ha moment (or two) over the course of 31 syllables, something to startle the mind awake across the enjambments, otherwise it’s like reading a lame joke with no punch line; maybe it’s time for Ms. Mullen to set her tanka notebook(s) down and be done with this indulgence?

Disclosures: I still sleep with her Sleeping with the Dictionary, a notable benchmark in American Letters.

Favorites: Read around at random, they’re all pretty much equally underwhelming.

Read Harryette Mullen at Orion Magazine.