Senior Elena Steiert has been awarded the Emma Kafalenos Prize for her honors thesis, “Ariadne as Heteropessimist: Finding Queer Futures in the Poetry of Catullus, H.D., and Analicia Sotelo.”
This project examines three texts in which Ariadne is a primary poetic voice: Catullus’ Carmen 64, a series of poems by Modernist writer H.D., and Analicia Sotelo’s 2018 collection Virgin. It explores why poets across time periods continually choose to revive Ariadne as a speaker on abandonment. The thesis finds a current of heteropessimism in all three texts—a fatalistic attitude toward relationships between men and women. Drawing on José Esteban Muñoz’s theory of queer futurity, it argues that, over the course of a long poetic trajectory, Ariadne’s refrain of heteropessimism gathers momentum that pushes us to imagine queer futures.