English 40 - Winter, 2024

Introductory Topics in Literature

Topic: Queer and Trans Poetics

Class Information

Instructor: McCandless, Tori
CRN: 23271
Time: MWF 9:00-9:50am
Location: Wellman 233
GE Areas: Writing Experience


What makes a poem queer? What makes a poem trans? How do poetic forms take shape through different forms of embodied experience? And how do different forms of gendered embodiment come to bear on poetry? This course stages encounters between 20th and 21st century poetry, theoretical scholarship, and creative criticism in order to answer these questions. Taking "queer," "trans," and "form" as its key terms, we will interrogate their interrelationship while acquiring an understanding of Queer and Trans Studies' critique of the compulsory organization of gender, sexuality, and kinship. From the almanac inspired prose of Djuna Barnes to Kay Gabriel's epistolary experiments, we'll bridge inquiries across gender and race, time and place, the body of a text and the bodies we live in. As we cultivate a fluency in the fluid forms of our course, we'll explore how the words "queer" and "trans" are not only identity categories, or adjectives, but methods of poetic production. Finally, we will hone our skills as literary critics by writing essays that question how poetry's use of specific devices underscore the relationship between gender, sexuality, and poetic form.