Why erotic poetry?

Death, misery, love, and joy have been written to dirt and commented upon endlessly, while analogy, allegory,  and connotative verse rim the poetry of human sexual experience.  Rarely is there poetic work which directly expresses raw human desire.  Prose at least has a history even though it is not, for the most part, well written.  Still, it exercised, criticized, read, and commented upon.  It’s alive, even if it is a battered genre being as it is steeped in gymnastics and lurid prose.  Still that makes those occasions where art rises even more brilliant.  Erotic prose has both sides of the equation:  readers and writers.Herculaum - hinds house - wall next to it with frescoes

Erotic poetry, well-crafted poetry, is more often sublime to the point of PG-13, suitable for those who could watch the Harry Potter movies.  The poetry is rarely explicit to hit the category of “R”, much less “X”.  Most work simply doesn’t qualify even as “soft-porn” to modern sensibilities. To find well-written, “transgressive” work?  That is even more difficult.  And while there are fewer writers, it might be difficult to find the readers as well simply for the fact that each magazine

While I am not an academic, and have no desire to be so, I can at least lay claim to the practical trade of engineer.  I read, I deconstruct, I write, I critique, I comment, I come to poetry as a crafts person with a low tolerance for boredom.  I will not spend my time reading work which does not intrigue me.  So, Byron is out for me, and I can barely tolerate Whitman.  Yet, I love many, many other poems and poets.  My intent in this blog is to address both the basics of the craft of poetry as well as the theme of erotica.  I will do what I can but I haven’t the conceit that “I know” shit all about either poetry or erotica.  I will do my technical best in maintaining this blog in the interest of others who might wish some reference to the craft of poetry as well as some considered thoughts about (what I call) “pornetry” or “whoretry” – erotic poetry.  This is my attempt at promoting poetry.

So first stop:  “read more poetry”.  I’ll start a collection of linked works as I find them.

Coming Becomes You, by Dennis Lee

Words I cannot form

There are very few writers out there who write about the topic of erotica and on erotic topics. Fewer still are worth reading, not just because the writing is either dry, prurient, gymnastic, or pedantic, but because they often lack intellectual rigor or come with a predisposed hypothesis to denigrate the expression.  Those writers I do enjoy, I’ll share.

One of the most important writers on the topic of the erotic and the genre is the writer pseudonymously called “Remittance Girl“.  She writes in several places on the net, including her blogRG In my opinion, she’s the preeminent writer on erotica that I’ve read.  While I don’t always agree with her, I find most of her erotic topics to be fearless, well-researched, and cogent.  Her fiction is timeless, but her critical pieces are priceless for the erotic literary genre because they are commonly researched into deep, considerate work.  I’m an adoring fan and can do little but paraphrase her, if not outright quote (with appropriate attribution  – please gawd don’t let me cock that up) her.  More often than not, I’ll just say, “You should link / like / look / read / revel in her blog,” and post a hyperlink.

I’d like to bring your attention to her current article at The Erotica Reader’s blog, Problems and Pleasures of the Myth of the Uncontrollable Urge, about rape fantasy, ethics, mythology, power, and the whole tumbled megaijinss around the topic. She turns what is usually the simple gymnastics of non-con into an interesting exploration of this difficult topic.  One of my favorite essays of hers is the 2010 article, “The Ethics and Eroticism of Non-Consensual Sex in Fiction.” Unfortunately, the two blog posts she’s responding to have disappeared into the internet.  Her novella, Gaijin, which, by the way is not sold on Amazon, (but is still available at SmashwordsBarnes & Noble, and Apple) deals with non-consent in an erotic context.  The desire reflected in the piece is complicated and unresolved.  Gaijin is well written with complex characterization, but if you have a trigger for rape, you need to avoid this work because it is unreservedly erotic, aka “hot”.  The fantasy is dark and there is pleasure.  Because she writes of the enjoyment, RG’s Gaijin could be considered a more difficult read, than Harriet Daimler’s, Darling, because Daimler initially gave us what we expect of the rape of a “frigid” woman.  Her middle and end were as intensely brutal as RG’s, but still, the act itself was not eroticized, so was much more “black and white.”

In neither of these works is the rape taken as the literary vehicle to relieve a virgin of her “unwanted” state, nor is the “hero” / rapist redeemed.  In the ’70s (and through the 80’s, but I ignored the whole genre until the 2000s)  there was much written about the “unwilling” woman who was seduced / forced / succumbed to the ravishing ravisher.  Sharon Green‘s turned me off such work, but she does have a following.  Not my cup of tea though because it struck me as coy and repetitive.i should break your face

But I leave it to a writer like Remittance Girl to help us evaluate and understand this draw to the darker side of such fantasies.  I can’t contribute much sense to the conversation besides the fact that, yes, I too have written non-con and do find it arousing to read but no, I have no desire to be raped.  I’m as hard core a feminist as you could find, who does not feel bad about her sexuality and really wouldn’t do very well dominated by a man.  As my DH says, “Oh hell no, I’m not gonna try spanking you, you’d whine.”  Yep.  I would.