Notes towards a queer::eco::poetics by Tamiko Beyer

queer
position aslant, askew, odd, perverted, kinky, strange
location outside of, on the margins, in the borderlands, straddling multiple worlds, unassimilat(ed)(ing)(able)
gender many, variable, shifting, negotiable, disruptive, presented, claimed, owned and operated

queer is not comfortable
queer is delicious
queer disrupts
queer saturates
queer is hot, is erotic
queer resists straightening
queer decolonizes
queer is an eyesore, agitator, loud and impolite
queer is sex sex sex and more sex
queer is always political
queer explodes
queer questions
queer blurs
queer acts and is acted upon
queer is queer
when co-opted, cashed, and labeled, queer slips away, manifests again elsewhere

eco
shortened from ecology, ecological
derives from German “oecologie,” from ancient Greek “oikos”: house, dwelling
and so implies environment: all that surrounds our bodies: what exists along/be/sides us and what we have created: what surrounds us because of what we surround
…..which requires an examination of the distinctions between the human and nonhuman …..world
also implies location, shelter, belonging, not belonging
…..which asks how we are both inside and outside, there because here, interconnected
……….and therefore a center
which becomes place and placeholder, repository of guilt and outrage, saturated, empty syllable

poetics
the slip of language
the production of culture
via many words
via few words
the built ecology of (non)meaning
an architecture of sound
an environment to agitate, to shift (its) borders

the double colon
can be read from left to right, right to left
makes a long pause
insists on tangible boundaries
…..while simultaneously disrupting demarcations
asks for multiple readings
questions the equation of direct correlation
…..but posits interconnection
is a built environment
is queer

(Notes towards)
A beginning. A considering. A way into. Chalk marks, pencil marks, marks in the margin.

:: ::

Can we consider a manifest(ati)o(n)?

To be queer is to be a freak of nature. To write about nature as a queer, then, is to begin by questioning of all previous assumptions of what nature is. To write in the queer::eco::poetics realm is to begin by interrogating the construction of what is natural, and all of what natural implies (inevitable, innate, normal, nonhuman, pristine, etc.).

The double colon of queer::eco::poetics breathes new life into co-opted, saturated forms, wrestling both queerness and greenwashing away from corporate /mainstream speech acts. It holds queerness in all its discomforts and embraces the entirety of ecology (ecology of language, of human creation, of thought, emotion, and of the “natural” world).

A queer::eco::poetics holds on simultaneously to the outsider status of queerness while working to disrupt the distinctions between outside and in, natural and unnatural, normal and freakish. A poetics of the porous.

A queer::eco::poetics rides the transformative power of the erotic while resisting and interrupting tired gendered portrayals of earth-mother-goddess nature. In a queer::eco::poetics gender and eros shift and transform continually. Sex and the erotic are integral to, but do not solely define, a queer::eco::poetics.

A queer::eco::poetics is not satisfied with language that props up borders. It is in search of, and in its search creates its own ((sub)alter(n)ed) language. A queer::eco::poetics looks to the leakages in/between words and meaning in search of new ways of knowing.

Tamiko Beyer is the author of bough breaks (Meritage Press, forthcoming). Her poems have recently appeared in or are forthcoming from DIAGRAM, H­­_ngm_n, Anti-, and elsewhere. She is the poetry editor of Drunken Boat and leads writing workshops for at-risk youth. She is a founding member of the queer writing collective Agent 409, and is a Kundiman fellow. Find her online at wonderinghome.com and blogging at kenyonreview.org.

[Photo credit: Kian Goh.]

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5 Thoughts on “Notes towards a queer::eco::poetics by Tamiko Beyer

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