Queer Content #4 – An Essay on W.H. Auden’s ‘Another Time’
Social Media: @QueerContent
I’ve had this zine for a little while now, but I wanted to make sure to save it until I had the proper amount of time (slow reader, here) and space to really take this one in. Plus, I was a little worried that it would all go over my head…
The title really says it in that Queer Content #4 features an essay on W.H. Auden’s ‘Another Time’ along with an introduction from Wolfram in regards to the creation of this essay and why it’s important. I did find it a bit amusing that I was so intimidated by an essay – and one featuring poetry, no less – only to read:
Now I’ve never been great at academia, alright? This isn’t going to be a top-notch essay that will convince you of anything (I certainly didn’t get a good mark for it).
But the important part – and what this zine is all about – is what comes next:
What I’d like you to consider is how denying homosexuality a positive identity within a text – particularly when that text is written by a queer writer and/or intended for queer readers – can have a negative impact on both your interpretation of the text and the visibility of queer folk everywhere.
This is definitely a text-heavy zine with a lot to think about. Honestly, even from the first page, some things went over my head. However, when Wolfram gently but unmistakenly called out the lecturer (dayum!) who glossed over the subject of Auden’s homosexuality at the start, I knew I had to keep going.
As I said, some of it went over my head. Even so, Wolfram’s writing in and of itself is easy to understand and gave me a lot of small nuggets of information to ponder. Things that I simply don’t encounter in my life experience. The poems Wolfram decided to include along with the essay added to the essay very well. They were beautifully sad in such a wistful way.
I really want to share the last paragraph of an essay because it’s sad and beautiful in the same way that the poems included in this zine are, but alas, that would be like giving away spoilers. No one likes spoilers.
I appreciated the bibliography. You might think ‘it’s an essay – of course there’s a bibliography’. However, it would have been easy to leave it out. However, not only is its inclusion a way to find further reading but also says that just because it’s a zine doesn’t mean it’s not worthy of respect and form.
In the end, I think the essay did what it set out to accomplish. I found myself being frustrated along with Wolfram at the denial of such a huge part of one’s identity can be damaging both within a life as well as within historical context. I felt like this essay was, at least in part, Wolfram’s way of ‘taking back’ Auden’s homosexuality and putting it back within the proper context of his poetry and identity.