In “Queer Theory: According to My Grandmother” Richard Blanco captures the fear, degradation, and longing for place that members of the LGBTQ community often face. It’s easy to read this poem—with an abeula scolding its speaker for seemingly unmanly infractions, like sitting down to urinate—as the semi-humorous chidings of anyone’s grandmother; however, a deeper narrative about freedom, agency, and social construction quickly surfaces revealing an attempt to encapsulate identity: “You will not look like a goddamn queer, / I’ve seen you . . . / even if you are one.” Blanco leaves his readers guessing whether grandmother or grandson is in the right and begs the question whether isolation protects or victimizes.
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