Friday, February 12, 2010

The List: Erotic Poetry

And down his mouth comes to my mouth! and down
His bright dark eyes come over me, like a hood
Upon my mind! his lips meet mine, and a flood
Of sweet fire sweeps across me, so I drown
Against him, die, and find death good
~D.H. Lawrence

What better time to indulge in a bit of erotic-love poetry than Valentine's Day? I've always been drawn to poets who are able to turn the most carnal, bodily aspects of love into something utterly transcendent. Historically, erotic poetry has been able to stay under-the-radar and escape censorship in the western world, even when its contents were graphically sexual. Unlike the novel, which has seen its fair share of censoring, poetry seems to quietly evade accusations of pornography. I recently learned that beat poet Allen Ginsberg's 1956 poem "Howl" was one of the only poems brought to trial in the U.S. for obscenity. The charges were dropped, because the judge decided the poem had "redeeming social importance." How fascinating to think that what one person considers smut, another person considers an important expression of very human experiences...

::Here are some of my favorite erotic poems/poets, and while they certainly seem tame to us today, they still manage to speak to us in a beautifully carnal way!

**What are some of your favorite love/erotic poems?? Why not have a private poetry reading...just you and your honey??

Happy Weekend of Love, my Dears!


okie said...

Ginsberg's poems "Love Replied" and "Please Master"? Oh my god! But my favorite poem by Ginsberg is called "On Neal's Ashes." It's an ode type of poem that he wrote to his friend and sex-buddy Neal Cassady after NC died. It's erotic and creepy, about how the body he used to have sex with was now turned to ash.

{Tara} said...

Okie -- God, I love Ginsberg...he is my favorite of the Beats, by far. I need to check these out!

saragraph said...

adrienne rich's "21 love poems" is a gorgeous, valentine-ready favorite of mine.

Part III
Since we're not young, weeks have to do time
for years of missing each other. Yet only this odd warp
in time tells me we're not young.
Did I ever walk the morning streets at twenty,
my limbs streaming with purer joy?
did I lean from my window over the city
listening for the future
as I listen with nerves tuned for your ring?
And you, you move towards me with the same tempo.
Your eyes are everlasting, the green spark
of the blue-eyed grass of early summer
the green-blue wild cress washed by the spring.
At twenty, yes: we thought we'd live forever.
At forty-five, I want to know even our limits.
I touch you knowing we weren't born tomorrow,
and somehow, each of us will help the other live,
and somehow, each of us must help the other die.

{Tara} said...

sarah -- Rich is incredible; her poetry always makes me cry...

Jade said...

When my boyfriend was wooing me he'd pin up poetry each week on the board in the corridor of our workplace - the cummings poem you posted here was one of those. You've just sent me back to that time, swoon!