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« Donald Hall's Life Work [by David Lehman] | Main | Hart Crane's Epigraph for "A Streetcar Named Desire" [Epigraph of the Month by DL] »

June 28, 2018


Except for a passing mention of Emily Dickinson, this essay is not about "the erotic" in the broadest sense but masculine eroticism and female passivity or victimization. At a time when millions of women have finally found the courage to speak up about having been sexually assaulted and harassed, everywhere from their own family homes to their workplaces, reviving the praise of uncontrollable priapism is particularly misplaced. Okay, repression breeds transgression, that's the Catholic take on an old story. Among modern women whose well-known erotic writing grew out of that soil are Anais Nin and Susie Bright, neither mentioned here (is that because they wrote mostly prose?). But there are others whose poetry reflects agency, not submission or victimization --erotic, not pornographic. Haven't you ever read Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, Pat Parker?

Thank you for the thoughtful comment, Jacqueline.

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That Ship Has Sailed
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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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