Sleeping with the Dictionary by Harryette Mullen   “One cannot make a world with simple atoms. There has to be a clinamen,” says philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy in The Inoperative Community. Nancy explains that in order to create new ways of being in the world, the individual must serve as clinamen, must swerve, must not progress in standard formation but turn. Poetry may accomplish this movement. In particular, overt poetic misreading or misprision of syllables, words, and phrasing may function as a microsonic clinamen within the language system by interrupting prevailing streams of thought and actively influencing the collective consciousness. Harryette Mullen’s “Sleeping with the Dictionary” enacts this radical poetic clinamen. Wordplay turns the attention away from standardized denotations and toward the patriarchal, phallocentric background of the codified…