Last week I made a hopping bunny for a LGBT month challenge. This week’s challenge is to create a piece of LGBT themed poetry. I decided to try my hand at blackout poetry because it looked like a lot of fun.
I chose a page from E.M. Forster’s Maurice, photocopied it, picked out some words and phrases, and then I used charcoal to blackout the rest of the page. I’m not the best at poetry but this was fun to do nevertheless (even though my puppy kept trying to lick my charcoal) and it gives me a great opportunity to talk about one of my favourite books. Check out my blackout Mauricepoem below:
On this page Maurice is staying at the house of Clive Durham, an old uni friend. One night Maurice stands at the window and suddenly has an urge to shout out into the darkness. Alec Scudder, the gamekeeper of Clive’s estate, climbs up to Maurice’s window and answers his call. So begins their relationship and Maurice’s chance to awaken sexually. Previously Maurice had formed a relationship with Clive in Cambridge. But Clive held their relationship in a platonic stasis. Clive was initially obsessed with the Hellenic ideal of same-sex relationships. However, after they leave Cambridge and Clive returns from a life changing visit to Greece, Clive distances himself from Maurice and finds a wife. This leaves Maurice confused and lost until Alec comes crashing into his life.
Maurice was completed in 1914 but it was published posthumously in 1971. My favourite thing about this novel is that there is a happy ending for Maurice and Alec. Forster said ‘a happy ending was imperative… I was determined that in fiction anyway two men should fall in love and remain in it for the ever and ever that fiction allows’.
Forster also noted that it was the happy ending that made the text difficult to publish in his lifetime because the lovers go ‘unpunished’. He dedicates the book to ‘a happier year’ when the Wolfenden Report will hopefully become law. The report did in fact lead to the passage of the 1967 Sexual Offences Act, which helped decriminalize homosexual acts. The significance of this law can be further contextualised through a look at my post about the trial of Oscar Wilde.
Thank you for reading!