Review #14: ‘Enduring Freedom’ by Laura Mullen

Mullen
  • COLDFRONT RATING: four
  • PUBLISHED BY: Otis Books / Seismicity Editions, 2012
  • REVIEW BY: Timothy Liu

enduring-freedom-cover

Imagine Wilfred Owen decked out in chiffon or white taffeta on his way to the front lines while reciting lines from Mullen’s Enduring Freedom, and you’ll get some sense of the dizzy nausea that awaits you–a groom in the shape of a reality-TV bachelor in grunt fatigues promising you all the traditional must-have cliches from bourgeoise registry to death-bed child delivery, all in order to keep the war games going inside our Military Bridal Complex–no matter who or where!–just fall in line and recite with me: Dulce et Decorum Est, Pro Matrimonia Mori.

Disclosures: I’m a married man.

Favorites: Bride of the Venue; Bride of the Ways; War Bride (America the Beautiful); and her footnote for Bride of the Photograph 1940-1944: “Is there a way to talk about photographs without slipping into that outdated poetry voice we were tired of or rather tired with when it first appeared? The sound of fatigue was part of the seduction. We still use words like “gentle” and “infinitely,” we still go on and on about the light. We like to say “we,” we like to say “the war,” as if there were just one, infinitely gentle in a burnished distance . . . .”

Read Laura Mullen at the Poetry Foundation.