“Who Is Mary Sue?”

Sophie Collins’ book “Who Is Mary Sue?” is another of those eclectic collections of words masquerading under the title of ‘poetry’. There are a few poems in the book, but also snippets of prose, chunks of quotation, various flavours of narrative… At one point I was reminded – somewhat obscurely! – of Ezra Pound and his Cantos…

The book provoked two immediate thoughts.

Firstly, that the old notions of ‘Novelist’ and ‘Poet’ are just about redundant now. We should settle on ‘Author’ or ‘Writer’, whatever format our word-mongering takes. Personally, I’m inclined to the former (although ‘Word-Monger’ is quite nice too!).

Secondly, the fact that volumes such as “Who Is Mary Sue” lack the narrative thread of ‘fiction’ and the stylistic integrity of ‘poetry’ is probably okay. But in leaving such traditional yardsticks by the wayside, they demand a new kind of reading; a reading that doesn’t look for either form of literary integrity, but that is happy to pick up pieces and fragments of meaning, beauty, insight etc. along the way.


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