Eerie, witty and ferociously original, a powerful poetic meditation on the denigration of women's writing
The village is always on fire.
Men stay away from the kitchens,
take up in outhouses with concrete floors,
while the women - soot in their hair -
initiate the flames into their small routines.
In this potent and original first collection, Sophie Collins sets out to examine women's creative autonomy and the cultural assumptions stacked against it: the denigration of women's writing, and by extension of women more generally, which so often proceeds from a conviction that women cannot write other than autobiographically; that they cannot invent; and that, even when it cannot be denied that they have done so, they have somehow gone about it in the wrong way.
Here, multiple modes of writing are brought together in service of the poet's task. In lyric essays, Collins considers the examples of other authors and poets of the 20th and 21st centuries. In shorter poems, and in the strange and lurid fragmentary narrative which runs throughout the book, she explores a series of personae, both as a means of recuperating women's writing, and as a way of writing around the blockages and silences attendant on shame and trauma.
Stylish, witty, and grounded in a unique vision, Who Is Mary Sue? announces the arrival of a major new poetic voice.
Sophie Collins grew up in Bergen, North Holland, and now lives in Edinburgh. She has been an Associate Poet at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London and a resident at Glasgow Women's Library. A selection of her work appeared in Penguin Modern Poets 1: If I'm Scared We Can't Win (2016). small white monkeys, a non-fiction, will be published by Book Works in Winter 2017.