“Only a dark cocoon, before I get my gorgeous wings
and I fly away. Only a phase, these dark café days.”
— Joni Mitchell ‘The Last Time I Saw Richard’
Chords of Inquiry, Anna Loughran. The Lifeboat Press, £6.50
What better way to start a pamphlet of poems than with the knowledge that chords of inquiry is a term Joni Mitchell coins in place of a suspended chord (i.e. when a major or minor third is omitted in place of a perfect fourth). A carefully chosen title, I think, given the poems to follow. Something that piqued my (musical) ears regarding this title is the potential for a suspension to not resolve itself; this tension is the clay Anna Loughran uses to sculpt poems. For sure, in Joni’s vein, these poems have a question mark skating through the pamphlet as a whole. An at once serious, moody question mark and in another shade, a light, playfully inquisitive one.
Continue reading “Painting the Poet: Chords of Inquiry by Anna Loughran”
Sophie Collins, Who Is Mary Sue? (Faber £10.99)
“- Your breath smells like peaches.
– Can you give me something for the pain?” — from ‘Eight Phrases’
Who Is Mary Sue? is haunted by countless figures; a nameless female writer; the eponymous O from Réage’s Story of O, ‘Mary Sue’ herself, even nothingness (in the plenty blank pages that abound, poor trees) to name a few. The book, Collins’ debut, features poems ranging from minute lyrics, extensive prose poems to found poems/reportage lifted from interviews. The spine of the text lies in the ways Collins grapples with the term ‘Mary Sue’, I quote:
“Coined by Paula Smith in 1973, ’Mary Sue’ is a pejorative term used by writers and readers of fan fiction to describe protagonists who are believed to be thinly disguised versions of the fan fic author’s idealised self.
Continue reading “Review — Fan-Poetry/Fic: Who Is Mary Sue?”