Call for submissions: Monosyllabic queer theory (poetry collection)


  • Lucas Crawford, Canada Research Chair of Transgender Creativity and Mental Health, University of Alberta (Augustana Faculty). Lucas has authored five books: Sideshow Concessions (Invisible Publishing 2015)., Transgender Architectonics: the Shape of Change in Modernist Space (Routledge 2016), The High Line Scavenger Hunt (U of Calgary Press 2018), Belated Bris of the Brainsick (Nightwood Editions 2019).Muster Points (U of Calgary Press June 2023). His other research focuses on fatness, space, transgender, and/or mental illness. See his U Alberta faculty profile for more.
  • thom vernon, SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow, York University. thom is a multi-media artist, performer and academic. He has published two novels: The Drifts (Coach House Books 2010) and I Met Death & Sex Through My Friend, Tom Meuley (Guernica Editions 2024) and several scholarly articles. thom’s essay “The Plague Came With No Directions” (The New Quarterly Fall 2022) won a 2023 National Magazine Award and the 2022 Edna Staebler Creative Non-fiction Award. His research theorizes failure and stigma as tools for artists, scholars and social justice activists. See for more.


to transform your favourite queer theory text into a poem that uses only single-syllable words.

Monosyllabic queer theory will be a book-length poetry collection that welcomes all forms of poetry (short, long, prose poems, free verse, highly formal, and beyond).

 Selected writers will receive honoraria of $250 CAD (at minimum).


Queer theory – simply put, ideas about what it means to be queer – has sometimes been known for obtuse writing. But does readability necessarily require simplification? Can writing be both accessible to a wide audience and offer complicated ideas about sexuality, gender, and desire? Is something lost in the translation of queer theory into digestible bites? Is something gained? If the ideas of queer theory have not yet realized their full potential in mainstream culture, is this an issue of “bad writing”? Can poets help?

We say YES!

Monosyllabic Queer Theory issues two challenges to queer writers. First, the book asks queer theorists to think in broader terms about potential readers and about how queer writing circulates in the larger culture. Secondly, its introduction of “theory” into poetry and poetics will ask contemporary queer poets to conceive of their research, precursors, and audiences in bigger terms. On both counts, the book can show others the potential of researching and writing across communities and silos. The form of MQT demands that its readers (and its writers!) rethink accessibility. The book will not simply encourage greater accessibility but will reframe what the word could mean. There is considerable pressure on queer theorists to become more accessible; this poetry book is one way of taking this advice, perhaps cheekily, to the extreme.


Give me a simple example! How much poetic license can I take? Ok. How about Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s line, “The epistemology of the closet is not a dated subject or a superseded regime of knowing”? It could become:

In the dark, no one knows

and the moon has not yet set.

Need another example? How about Judith Butler? The question “to what extent does the category of women achieve stability and coherence only in the context of the heterosexual matrix?” could be tweaked like this:

To want, and to want to be a “she,”

is not a gift that god gives. If

sex is an act, who will you play

in this made-for-T-V-film-of-the-week?

Does it sound like a bad bum deal?

(Don’t you know that play is quite real?)


Just a few theorists to consider: Judith Butler, Michel Foucault, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Jasbir Puar, Jose Esteban Munoz, Jack Halberstam, Sara Ahmed, Michael Warner, Susan Stryker, Sandy Stone, E. Patrick Johnson, Lee Edelman, Robert McRuer, and Elizabeth Freeman. Consider, too, emerging but increasingly well-known voices: Mel Chen, Jules Gill-Peterson, C. Riley Snorton, Jeanne Vaccaro, and Qwo-Li Driskill. Consider influence, originality, and representations of a variety of queer intersections (transgender, Two-Spirit identity, racialization, disability, social class, etc.).

Stylistically, knock yourself out. Have fun. It’s likely that some queer theories will be best rendered aphoristically, while others will be better suited to longer dialogic forms such as the glosa. Go for it!

Submission Guidelines:

  • Email submissions as one MSW file to thom vernon at [email protected].
  • Label file: contributor last name, Short title
  • Include: 50-word contributor bio; theorist/title of text


Early-bird deadline: July 1, 2023

Final deadline: August 1, 2023

Accepted poems that were received by the early-bird deadline will be paid $300 instead of $250.

Rights: First North American Serial rights (“FNASR”). Copyright reverts to author after publication.

We can’t wait to read what you create!!