Professor Laura Mullen looks out a window.

Laura Mullen is the W.R. Kenan Jr. Chair of Humanities in Literature and Creative Writing. A National Endowment for the Arts and MacDowell Fellow, she writes poetry and experimental prose, as well as hybrid texts playing with genre. She also works with video and sound, explores performance, publishes translations, and collaborates with artists, composers, and musicians.

Her research interests include poetry, prose, video, sound, photography, film, feminism, theory, performance, the work of Gertrude Stein, and contemporary writing in France. She has published eight collections of her own work and a translation of Véronique Pittolo’s HERO. Recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Together in a Sudden Strangeness, Diagram, Fence and—through the “Poetry in Plain Sight” program—on broadsides throughout North Carolina (October 2022). Her ninth book (EtC) is forthcoming from Solid Objects Press in Spring 2023.

Charting the entanglement of thought and feeling, my poetics [politics] involves moving against the inherited body / mind distinctions which foreclose justice in the distribution of our attention and have been used to justify a lack of respect and care for life as lived. Radical honesty is part of my method, so accuracy matters, as does openness to different ideas and approaches. 

I know that meanings are not fixed, and I understand that words and images can transform a situation—what we apprehend and express can reposition and change us—I recognize that audiences are participants in the process. “We write our reading,” as Roland Barthes said (in translation).

I want to be true to the complicated, unstable, shifting, negotiated, and unevenly shared realities: locating and exposing the implications of our present experience, to loosen and bring close the possible futures we are making together.

Professor Mullen likes great food and delicious conversation, experiencing art of all sorts, traveling, dancing, and reading the amazing work of her Wake Forest students, as well as connecting (and collaborating!) with colleagues. She’s also fond of walking: Salem Lake trail is already a beloved haunt.