Shelia Heti’s Shelia

Poet’s note: WordPress kept jacking up my line breaks and white space.  Click the link below to read my poetic response to Shelia Hetit’s How Should a Person Be?





2 thoughts on “Shelia Heti’s Shelia

  1. “Shelia’s Shelia is Shelia’s
    real name, but fake face.”

    I think you captured a lot of the things I was feeling about this novel with these two lines. I got a sense while wading through this text of the need/desire/struggle/pick-a-word of trying to find the intersection of one’s public self, artistic self, and real self. The fact that she wrote this from a place that’s already blending her real and fictional lives only works to enhance that idea.


  2. Hi Ali,

    I really enjoyed your poetic response to this novel. I think you raised a lot of interesting points that I also struggled with while reading. I was mostly struck by these lines:

    “Shelia’s Shelia is Shelia’s
    real name, but fake face.”


    “Shelia’s Shelia experiments with
    what it takes to tell a lie.”

    It’s so hard to tell when Sheila the author is speaking, or when Sheila the character is speaking, because they blend together. In some ways, I don’t want to separate them, and I don’t think I should. Sheila’s Sheila is almost like a dual personality. They’re the same person, yet different, and you can’t tell which one is lying.

    I only have one question. Is the real Sheila sick of fake artists and characters? What exactly is a fake artist versus a real artist, and how can one tell the difference? If things like gender and personality are performances, isn’t everyone a character, or a fake? Just something I thought of while reading your poem.

    Great post!


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