This essay reads Harryette Mullen’s epic poem Muse & Drudge as an innovative text of the US-Mexico borderlands by focusing on Mullen’s literal and figurative transactions between multiple discourses, including Spanish, and the corresponding sets of material conditions these discourses conjure to understand how Muse & Drudge reveals the ongoing racialization and exploitation of African American women and Latinas. I identify a transaborder politics in Muse & Drudge in which shared colonial histories unite Afro-Caribbean diasporic and borderlands subjects. In Mullen’s poetics, themes of separation, definition, and regulation are racialized concepts, deeply embedded in the violent histories of racial mixing and mestizaje that are both named outright and alluded to metaphorically by her hybridized language.


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