nearer than breathing, closer than hands and feet
—George Morrison, “The Reawakening of Mysticism”
Ecological criticism and queer theory seem incompatible, but if they met, there would be a fantastic explosion. How shall we accomplish this perverse, Frankensteinian meme splice? I'll propose some hypothetical methods and frameworks for a field that doesn't quite exist—queer ecology. (The pathbreaking work of Catriona Sandilands, Greta Gaard, and the journal Undercurrents must be acknowledged here.) This exercise in hubris is bound to rattle nerves and raise hackles, but please bear with me on this test flight. Start with the basics. Let's not create this field by comparing literary-critical apples and oranges. Let's do it the hard way, up from foundations (or unfoundations). Let's do it in the name of ecology itself, which demands intimacies with other beings that queer theory also demands, in another key. Let's do it because our era requires it—we are losing touch with a fantasy Nature that never really existed (I capitalize Nature to make it look less natural), while we actively and passively destroy life-forms inhabiting and constituting the biosphere, in Earth's sixth mass extinction event. Giving up a fantasy is even harder than giving up a reality.