Desiring Texts: the erotics of domestic space in the poetry of Lyn Hejinian and Rosmarie Waldrop

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This article examines the ways in which desire operates as a discursive site throughout Lyn Hejinian’s My Life (1987) and Rosmarie Waldrop’s ‘Inserting the Mirror’ (1987), and it argues that the articulation of desire in these prosepoems rests in the abjection of the bodily to the textual. What these texts seek to locate, or the locus of their desire, is the means by which the erotic is inserted into the space of the domestic and the poetic. Central to the paper’s analysis of the desire which operates in these texts is Julia Kristeva’s notion of abjection. The paper argues that in their attempts to reconstitute discourses of gender and sexuality, My Life, ‘Inserting the Mirror’ (and ‘language poetry’ more generally), confront the ways in which late-twentieth- century American ideology is articulated through the assertion of an imaginary (in Kristeva’s sense) unified subjectivity. Such an assertion is precisely the desire that haunts contemporary America, such is the space that its sexual politics traverse.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-29
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of American Culture
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004

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