In tracing the leitmotif of wild roses in Louise Aston’s poetic oeuvre, this article insists upon new readings of Aston’s poetry that attend to the blurring of human and plant and the nonnormative intimacies found there. More specifically, I argue that the wild roses of Aston’s “Wilde Rosen” (“Wild Roses”) (1846) and “Die wilde Rose” (“The Wild Rose”) (1850) necessitate a rethinking of heteronormativity, passive femininity, intimacies, futurity, and queerness. This article understands these two poems to be practices in nonnormative intimacies and queer worldmaking: ones that weaken heteronormativity and gender roles of Vormärz Germany, stake out queer modes of existence, and unearth new ecologies. Here, I think with queer theory, feminist new materialisms, and queer ecology in close examinations of poetic diction and considerations of evolving understandings of gender and botany in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. If the 1800s serve as a time of shoring up and solidifying gender roles and gender meanings, Aston’s work with the cliché of women as being like flowers—in particular, wild roses—subverts hegemonic notions of passive femininity and the heteronormative impulse of such images through an expansive understanding of ecological connections and intimacies.

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