I believe that a good writer has the soul of poet – a love of words and a feeling for rhythm, a delight in evocation. Of course, poetry and prose are very different, and a talent for one does not imply a talent for the other.
As a youth in love, I discovered a love for writing poetry. I don’t claim to have been a good poet, but it was fun. Bereft of love, the poems descended into a darkness of depression and rage… and gradually ceased. I seldom write poetry now.
Nor am I a great reader of poetry. It’s something I read for a reason rather than idle enjoyment, but it’s always a delight to read a poem, just a few short lines, that makes you go… wow. (Not, to be clear, ‘Wow!’ Just, ‘wow’ – soft, long, a little startled.)
The idea of erotic poetry – well, okay, there’s lots of erotic poetry, but I’m thinking now about poetry that goes beyond the suggestion or promise of sex, poetry that can be really quite explicit – is a little odd. Perhaps because I see poetry as refined and sex-words as coarse.
Hmm… How would I write erotic poetry…
Oh mighty shaft that all revere
’Twixt bristling vines you stand severe
– cheek haughtily flushed with smirking satisfaction
That dribbling dance and youthful lust
Scream wild desire to cleave and thrust
Oh dear, that’s just too silly.
No, if you read only one book of erotic poetry this year, make it Leni King’s Lesbian Juices. Because, you know,… wow.