Our Words, Possessed by Fans


In the driest language possible, I would say that fan fiction successfully undermines the traditional American heteronormative dynamic in ways that can’t be undone. In wetter language, fan fiction sexualizes. It’s transgressive because it suggests the possibility of the erotic. It’s political, because it complicates power structures. And it’s personal, because it grants permission for range of previously unacceptable expressions and interactions. I think my poems enact a space for complicated, multivalent relationships. I think that’s the draw.

At The Awl, Adam Carlson interviews poet Richard Siken (War of the Foxes), who he calls the “poet laureate of fan fiction.” Carlson and Siken discuss the Internet life of his 2004 collection, Crush. Fan fiction writers and fan artists, particularly in the massive and popular fandoms for the CW’s Supernatural and the BBC’s Sherlock, have long adopted the language and themes in Crush for their transformative works based on these shows. Siken addresses his relationship as a writer to his work as it’s transformed by fans to create a wider, more diverse dialogue with the original TV shows.

Michelle Vider is a writer based in Philadelphia. Her work has appeared/is forthcoming in The Toast, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Atlas and Alice, Baldhip Magazine, and others. Find her at michellevider.com or @meanchelled. More from this author →