Harryette Mullen is the author of seven previous books of poetry, including Recyclopedia and Sleeping with the Dictionary, a finalist for the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. She has recently received the Academy of American Poets Fellowship and the Jackson Poetry Prize from Poets & Writers. She is Professor of English and African American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Urban Tumbleweed is poet Harryette Mullen’s exploration of spaces where the city and the natural world collide. Written out of a daily practice of walking, Mullen’s stanzas adapt the traditional Japanese tanka, a poetic form suited for recording fleeting impressions, describing environmental transitions, and contemplating the human being’s place in the natural world. But, as she writes in her preface, "What is natural about being human? What to make of a city dweller taking a ‘nature walk’ in a public park while listening to a podcast with ear-bud headphones?"
"Mullen is a walker, and in many ways, this is a walker's diary, a record of her interactions with the city at the level of its streets. But even more, it is a portrait of her mind in the act of reflection, sharply observed and deeply felt."
—Los Angeles Times
"Harryette Mullen is a magician of words, phrases, and songs. . . . No voice in contemporary poetry is quite as original, cosmopolitan, witty, and tragic."
—Susan Stewart, citation for the Academy of American Poets Fellowship