Saturday, October 16, 2021

A Fictional Poet's Notebook (part 3)

 Some of these posts have been incorporated into a prose chapter of my 2023 book, Doubly Stolen Fire, which you may read about, and purchase, here: Pages: Doubly Stolen Fire (a new book of hybrid texts) is now OUT (


Sophie Poppmeier: 16th October 2020: One reason for writing this account is to keep everything consistent. I’m writing this during the second wave of the Covid-19 crisis, not the heroic first wave, when the world hushed, in awe at death as it breathed its way through the population, but also in awe at the medical resistance. I dressed my mannequin as a nurse and propped it in the window. People cheered. I live in a Bohemian street near the Mitte, in a small apartment in an ancient block, anonymous enough for me not to drift away from myself, particularly during the isolation imposed by the pandemic. But, then with my mannequin, I’m not alone, am I? It was at this point that it acquired a name, Daniel, Danielle, Danny, Dani (never Dan). Danny/i. Once named, it spoke. Or its first grunts and gurgling gestured towards speech. There must be a more economic way of telling this story, one that convinces the reader of each implausibility as it occurs, until it is the ‘new normal’, ways of slipping past the gatekeepers of credulity into the gated community of unreason!

            Perched as Danny/i was in the window it received the applause of the street, the distant approbation of the masses.

            I’m getting ahead of myself here, because I need to update (who? you? me? Danny/i?) my web presence. On my website [NB: before the update of summer 2021; see below!] it leaves me writing Book 5 (or proposing to – I am not sure I’ve written it. Is it possible I am writing Book 6 before I’ve written Book 5? Is that possible? It is, but only if we accept that Book x is not a numerical denominator but a name for the book, a title like any other…). It also refers a little to the controversy over ‘Pegging Putin’ that my Angela Merkin persona performed here in Berlin. I enjoyed the performance: it was curiously empowering, be-decked as I was with over-bearing phallic symbols… At least until I was off-stage, carrying my costume in a bag, and with the mannequin under my arm. I was in tears by then, disempowered by weird committees of taste and decency, whose power – I’d decided – I could only evade by renouncing burlesque as a police state! I say something like that in the new afterword to the revised edition of my ‘Book of Marvels’: I denounce not the artists, but the promoters and critics of the art. As I say there – I must have been thought insane – the only one not to judge me was my mannequin, who stood impassively watching as I reduced an invisible Putin to a quivering jelly. It was dressed as a Russian military officer (my detractors said that it was in Nazi uniform; couldn’t they see?).

            With a wooden knee there can be no knee-jerk reactions.


Sophie Poppmeier is one of the ‘fictional poets’ of my European Union of Imaginary Authors project, and she appears both in Twitters for a Lark and A Translated Man (both Shearsman book). The EUOIA website which describes both the project as a whole (here: European Union of Imaginary Authors (EUOIA) - Home ( ) and contains a page about her (here: Sophie Poppmeier (1981-) Austria - European Union of Imaginary Authors (EUOIA) ( ). Two relevant posts about her burlesque work may be read here and here. A poem from Book 4 may be read online here.

 I have been writing a notebook to try to write her into the present, as it were, and I’m presenting most of it here, in instalments, like the text itself.

The first installment includes links to all the posts: Pages: A Fictional Poet's Notebook (entry one)(hubpost to other parts) (