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There are ghosts in this issue. Our first conversations arose out of the centenaries that have already or are about to fall, not only of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land but also Rainer Maria Rilke’s Duino Elegies. Last year was also the birth centenary of the great Guyanese poet and novelist Wilson Harris, and August marks the birth centenary of Philip Larkin. But we didn’t want simply to commemorate these moments; we wanted to push further. Extended critique soon turned to something more creative and queer. In the spirit of the late theorist Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, whose queer readings revolutionised literary theory itself, we asked essayists to re-read these texts reparatively and wilfully with the hope of unearthing ultra-relevance, pleasure and distortion. Queer readings became Wilful Re-readings. But of course, we had no idea what to expect. We were stunned by the responses: Mark Wunderlich’s psychogeographical project of searching for Rilke; Kevin Breathnach’s dramatisation of how Eliot’s fragmentary text might inspire and conjure the many fragments of a queer life lived through art and observation; Lara Pawson’s consideration of how Larkin’s poetry might be recalled and read post-Brexit; and Gemma Robinson’s tracking of the fingerprints of Harris’s poetics within his prose.

Such wilful re-reading has much to offer the poet too. And might there be some consolation, a wisdom, in other texts and voices? A poetic ancestor to be in dialogue with during these difficult, terrifying and even unrecognisable times? ‘To wish to know everything Faust says you must

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