This article and the accompanying interview are interested in the ways in which contemporary feminist and experimentalist poet Laura Mullen has created new forms of hybrid poetics through mergings of the aesthetics and tropes of stock genre fiction together with linguistically and structurally disjunctive aesthetics. With the recent publication of Enduring Freedom: A Little Book of Mechanical Brides (Otis Books, 2012), Mullen has just now completed what this article calls her trilogy of trash: that is, an interlocking set of formally complex lyric/narrative/hybrid works that limn the boundary between experimentalist art and the lurid stuff of mainstream mass market fiction as it is embodied in the genres of popular gothic (The Tales of Horror), noir (Murmur), and romance (Enduring Freedom). Each of the works in Mullen’s trilogy intervenes in the aesthetics of its host genre in order to expose the workings of gender and class in the narrative structures of mainstream fiction, genres that Mullen implies effectively embody mainstream cultural mores. Taking recourse to the work of Sianne Ngai, this article shows how Mullen’s work can be read for the ways it produces and circulates those minor emotions that Ngai theorizes as Marcusian negative thinking.

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