This second edition of small white monkeys by Sophie Collins includes new poems and a new introduction by Helen Charman.
‘The Engine’ was a poem about another world. Inhabiting this world was a brood of small white monkeys that moved around like injured birds, like furtive healthy birds, like monkeys. …
It took me too long to recognise ‘The Engine’ for what it was – the story of my life until now, or quite recently. It took me longer still to recognise the monkeys for what they were, collectively: my white symbol of shame. – from small white monkeys
small white monkeys is a fragmented essay, including poems and images, on self-expression, self-help and shame. Beginning with the image of the small white monkeys, the text examines the author’s relationship with shame through a series of short studies on, amongst other things, cats, hair as a metonym for the self in poetry and fiction, and perceptions of sexual violence.
Made through research into Glasgow Women’s Library’s Archive Collections and Lending Library, small white monkeys incorporates material from the library’s archives and the work of female creators past and present, including Anna Mendelssohn, Jean Rhys, Selima Hill, Adrian Piper, June Jordan, Denise Riley, Carolee Schneemann, Vahni Capildeo and Veronica Forrest-Thomson.
Sophie Collins grew up in Bergen, North Holland, and is now a lecturer at the University of Glasgow. She is the author of Who Is Mary Sue? (Faber, 2018) and small white monkeys (Book Works, 2017), and the editor of Currently & Emotion (Test Centre, 2016), an anthology of contemporary poetry translations; a sequel, Intimacy, is forthcoming. She is the translator, from the Dutch, of Lieke Marsman’s The Following Scan Will Last Five Minutes (Pavilion, 2019). Most recently, she has translated Marsman’s novel, The Opposite of a Person (Daunt Books, 2022). She is currently working on new poetry and prose.
Published by Book Works as part of the You Must Locate a Fantasy library commissions generously supported by Glasgow Women’s Library, Creative Scotland, and Arts Council England.