John Donne’s Poetics of Mediation Public Deposited
  • Some of Donne’s earliest works are his verse letters to male friends, poems noted for their remarkable expressions of same-sex desire. This essay proposes that these erotics are, in fact, nearly always mediated by a series of poetic proxies, figures which include female bodies and metrical malfunctions, among others. This essay unfolds what it calls Donne’s “poetics of mediation” by offering a close analysis of several of Donne’s homosocial verse letters as well as the less familiar contributions of his friends. It ultimately suggests, however, that Donne’s queer formal strategy is deeply bound up with the material conditions of his poetic production and transmission. Considering the practicalities of the postal system by which Donne and his friends communicated from afar helps expose how these verse letters both reinscribe and disguise their reliance on real intermediaries.

Academic Affiliation
Journal Title
Journal Issue/Number
  • 4
Journal Volume
  • 18
Last Modified
  • 2020-09-04
Resource Type
Rights Statement
  • 1553-3786