Can I Exist Without Prefix?: Reimagining Medieval Poetry as Queer Quasi-Objects

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Contemporary poetry that utilizes medieval poetic forms can alter how one views the monolith of history, as well as provide insight into our present moment. In particular, queer poetry that reimagines the Middle Ages sheds light on an archive seldom explored, which this collection aims to expand. My poetry manuscript, Can I Exist without Prefix?, uses sundry styles of medieval poetry, and invokes various texts and medievalism, to highlight queer presence in the past, and destabilize harmful and inaccurate misconceptions of the Middle Ages circulating in the present moment. The subsequent exegesis, “‘The past remains, therefore, and even returns’: the Quasi-Object in Queer Uses of Medieval Poetry” examines two poetry collections, feeld by Jos Charles and […] by Ava Hofmann, alongside Bruno Latour’s ideas around the quasi-object in We Have Never Been Modern and Elizabeth Freeman’s theory of temporal drag in Time Binds: Queer Temporalities, Queer History, to demonstrate how creative works in the genre destabilize contemporary conversations that view queerness as solely a construct of the present. Jos Charles’ feeld explores transgender identity through agriculture conceits, using a language that is a hybrid of Middle English and cyberspeak. Ava Hofmann’s […] reimagines Old English metrical charms through the creation of an archival manuscript, filled with erasure and lacunae, that documents her transgender experience. My poetry collection joins these works in showing that we are not as far away from the Middle Ages as we think, opening the conversation around, and highlighting the urgent next to explore, queer representation in both the past and present.
Creative Writing, Poetry, Queer
Pollon, L. (2023). Can I exist without prefix?: Reimagining medieval poetry as queer quasi-objects (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from