"To be what you are--infinitely"
Robinson, Matthew Jay
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A focused examination of Charles Henri Ford’s poetry in The Overturned Lake, this paper theorizes the active image, a poet praxis that blends the aesthetics of Surrealist and camp traditions within the form of the lyric. A collage-like assembly of juxtapositions of literary images, the active image enables Ford’s subversive engagement with heteronormative conceptions of subjectivity and temporality. Through the exploration of Ford’s poetics, this paper seeks to enrich existent scholarship on Ford’s cultivation of queer communities and his emphasis on queer visibility. Positioning his treatments of queer issues in conversation with his artistic practice, the paper establishes a framework for future studies of Ford’s work wherein the active image is the basis for his development not only of a unique aesthetics but also of a queer communal identity.