by harryette mullen
every time i read this poem i fall deep for language like it's the first time.
if you love the dictionary and aren't familiar with mullen's work, buy yourself a copy of Sleeping with the Dictionary (the book that houses the above poem of the same name) RIGHT NOW.
from UC Press's description of the book:
"Harryette Mullen's fifth poetry collection, Sleeping with the Dictionary, is the abecedarian offspring of her collaboration with two of the poet's most seductive writing partners, Roget's Thesaurus and The American Heritage Dictionary. In her ménage à trois with these faithful companions, the poet is aware that while Roget seems obsessed with categories and hierarchies, the American Heritage, whatever its faults, was compiled with the assistance of a democratic usage panel that included black poets Langston Hughes and Arna Bontemps, as well as feminist author and editor Gloria Steinem. With its arbitrary yet determinant alphabetical arrangement, its gleeful pursuit of the ludic pleasure of word games (acrostic, anagram, homophone, parody, pun), as well as its reflections on the politics of language and dialect, Mullen's work is serious play."
actually, buy everything harryette mullen has ever written because it's all perfect and she deserves your entire paycheck a thousand times over