Intimate Kisses: The Poetry of Sexual Pleasure
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Intimate Kisses revels in what may be life’s greatest mystery, through some of richest, most celebrated poetry ever written. Included in this anthology are 121 poems by such poets as Marge Piercy, Emily Dickenson, Jelaluddin Rumi, Nikki Giovanni, Anne Sexton, Sharon Olds, Octavio Paz, Molly Peacock, Dorianne Laux, Jane Hirshfield, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Galway Kinnell, and W.S. Merwin, as well as dozens of lesser-known and unpublished poets.
nothing but rough elbows in them and delicate boxes of Kleenex calling crybaby crybaby, you fool! Before today my body was useless. Now it’s tearing at its square corners. It’s tearing old Mary’s garments off, knot by knot and see—Now it’s shot full of these electric bolts. Zing! A resurrection! Once it was a boat, quite wooden and with no business, no salt water under it and in need of some paint. It was no more than a group of boards. But you hoisted her, rigged her. She’s been
Among the many Greek and Roman deities, each was sexual in a certain way, suggesting that sex itself has many altars and therefore a pantheon of meanings. If we try to do sex correctly, we fall into a troubling paradox: we get swamped by unwanted desires or we contradict our own values. With sex it’s easy to accept the notion that what we repress returns to us. Suppress sexual desire and it comes back to haunt us and to invert our values and expectations. Sex makes many demands, and somehow it
from inside her. I was awestruck by his stunning visual imagery, and asked, “Why didn’t you share this when we were on the air?” He replied, “You know, it would have been easier to say I picture my wife dressed up as a chambermaid or a dominatrix than to admit I have these kinds of thoughts during sex. I’d never live down the ribbing I’d get from the guys at the gym!” Unfortunately, our culture inundates us with a steady stream of commercially contrived and artistically limited images of sex.
permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a Division of Random House, Inc. JACQUES PRÉVERT: “Alicante,” translated by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Copyright � 1947 by Les Editions du Point du Jour. Reprinted by permission of City Lights Books. NIZAR QABBANI: “On Entering the Sea,” from On Entering the Sea: The Erotic and Other Poetry of Nizar Qabbani (Northhampton, MA: Interlink Books, 1996). English translation copyright � 1996 by Salma Khadra Jayyusi. Reprinted by permission of Interlink Publishing, Inc.
feeling it. A client once told me that the messages she heard growing up taught her: If it feels good, it must be bad. Negative messages about sexual pleasure cause a lot of unnecessary personal suffering. They generate feelings of anxiety, embarrassment, inhibition, fear, and alienation—all of which get in the way of enjoying sex. We can use resources, such as this book, to help us get past these barriers to pleasure. Examples of people who are freely and unequivocally delighting in healthy