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Cluster index: Ed Simon

Richard Barnfield.

Ed Simon: ‘The emancipatory potential of Barnfield’s verse is that the possibility of consummated same-sex love is implied, the poignancy is that it requires the almost supernatural to be made possible. Without further historical evidence it’s impossible to know if like Edward with his Gaveston, Barnfield himself had romantic companionship, or if these thoughts were all theoretical. But if we’re to celebrate Shakespeare for turning the conventions of Petrarchism on its head when he celebrated the Dark Lady as opposed to the standard fair woman of lyrical convention, than Barnfield equally deserves to be celebrated for the still-more radical attempt to write love poetry to a man, as a man.