I found the words “world in question” in writer and poet Mary Doty’s 2010 volume The Art of Description, the last section of which is titled Description’s Alphabet. Doty makes his way through the ABC’s, choosing words that correspond to each letter in some way over the course of his prose-poetry on the depths and delights of written-out illustrations and representations of life and the world around us.
When he arrives to Q, he writes:
“If I were asked to say what distinguishes an artistic temperament from any other, I’d say that it’s a fundamental sense that the project of being alive is something peculiar, little understood. I’ve always felt amazed by – a bit envious of – people who take their lives for granted, who feel that of course this (this body, this community, this set of human laws and social expectations) is the way things should be, how could it be otherwise?
But to believe that the world is QUEER, or that oneself is, or both, is a window of doubt through which all creative possibility comes into being… In this American moment, it’s fundamentally queer to be a poet, queer to be interested in what can’t be packaged or sold in the marketplace, queer to enjoy the fundamentally useless, contemplative pleasure of poetry. Queer means that which is not business as usual, not solid identities founded on firm grounds, but a world in question.”