Date of Award

Spring 5-8-2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

English

First Advisor

Orchid Tierney

Second Advisor

Sarah Heidt

Abstract

My project is a creative exercise in autotheory, popularized by Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts and hybrid forms prominent in contemporary queer literature. I intertwine my own experience of queer trauma with the voices of prominent queer theorists to examine the spatial and temporal horizons of lesbian trauma. The first chapter explores how Sara Ahmed’s theory of queer phenomenology can be mapped out using “poetic diagrams,” an experimental form I have created to depict queer desire extending onto the bodily horizon. My second chapter is centered around the question: can lesbian trauma be repaired through lesbian sex? The second chapter is influenced by sexually explicit experimental poetry popular to the New Narrative movement of the 1970’s. I challenge José Muñoz’s theory of queer futurity using poetry that empodies Ann Cvetkovich’s theory of lesbian sex as a reparative avenue for lesbian sexual trauma. But at the center of my project is my own body and my own experience as an out lesbian living during the MeToo movement. I translate my lesbian identity and PTSD into experimental poetic forms that question the validity of these theorists’arguments. Can the lesbian subject move away from her trauma into a purely pleasurable future? Or will her temporal and spatial horizons always be blurred by past trauma that has manifested in the body as mental illness?

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