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The Awl ‘Crushes’ on Richard Siken’s Poetry

By Harriet Staff

Richard Siken

It’s not fan fiction, people! (Or, maybe it is…) At The Awl, Richard Siken talks about his two poetry collections, Crush and War of the Foxes, and explains their delicate dance with TV fan fiction.

In April, the poet Richard Siken released his second book, War of the Foxes—ten years after Crush, his award-winning debut, which Louise Glück wrote restored “to poetry that sense of crucial moment and crucial utterance which may indeed be the great genius of the form.”

But many fans of the television show Supernatural, which tells the story of the tempestuous relationship between two demon-fighting brothers, thought that Crush was about their favorite characters fucking. The result has been a lot of slash fiction—and other fan works—that appropriate Siken’s poetry, particularly as Tumblr has become the center of fandom, and fandom has become the center of Tumblr. More recently, Siken has become prominent in Sherlock fandom in a similar way: two men, mysteries, fucking. Siken has gotten into it, too, recently creating his own Tumblr and Sherlock slash.

I invited Siken to talk about all of this, and also the new book. We spent the next three weeks trading emails.

Supernatural was the first show whose fan fic I ever discovered. And the timing between that show’s premiere and the release of Crush is something you’ve written about at some length. But do you remember if it was the first fan fic you ever read?

I remember seeing slash here and there, but I suppose the Supernatural community was my first encounter with a group of people building a mythos outside of a show, parallel to a show. I got really interested when they began pulling lines from Crush. And now the Sherlock fandom is pulling lines from Crush (and occasionally War of the Foxes) for their prompts and memes.

Continue at The Awl.

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Posted in Poetry News on Tuesday, February 9th, 2016 by Harriet Staff.