Publications by Friends & Readers

I’m not the only poet or writer contributing to this blog. The others are my readers and I wanted to mention them and their writing.

 

Marv Volta

Marv inspired this post, so to him the first mention. Marv Volta’s It’s Free is what it says: free. You can download it here. The poetry is heavily influenced by the rhythm of hip hop, as I judge it, and offers some of the most creative rhyming out there. Be warned though, Volta’s poetry isn’t for the faint of heart. The imagery and subject matter are on the violent side. Expect abusive language and extreme sexual violence.

I Should Be DifferentThey buried my corpse in the garden.  I saw them,
And hated with certainty, vowing to saw them.
The afterlife marathon beatings continued
(A death god can damage the spectrally sinewed
With leg locks).  In time, though, I finally hardened
My spirit by fighting with Ankou, who pardoned
My losses when petty amusement transmuted
To favor–the mettle could not be disputed.
The psychopomp gave me a decade of training
In Limbo to better my vengeful erasing.
If lessons begin with a Reaper who hits you,
You’ll work on your flying, and meta jiu-jitsu.

Volta’s I Should Be Different can be purchased at Amazon. A while back I coined the term “Trophy Rhyme” to describe a kind of rhyme that can be (or is) in itself the reason for the poem. It’s a kind of showmanship you’ll find in in Volta’s poetry and put to good effect (which, in other hands, it sometimes isn’t). Add a strong metrical drive and Volta puts to paper what you might expect to hear at a poetry jam or from a street rapper.

As with It’s Free, however, this is poetry without a filter—either in subject matter or language. Don’t read it to relax.

The Woodpecker

I leave it to him to identify himself by any other name. Woodpecker’s book, Barking at Bears, is subtitled “Letters and Poems from the WoodpeckerDowneast Maine Woods”. The book opens with a military helicopter and a drug bust. WP and his cat barely stifle a yawn as an armed DEA agent scrambles over the deck. For the record, I’m on Woodpecker’s side. Consider that the government’s puerile obsession with marijuana includes a ban on hemp crops. Despite the fact that Hemp has almost zero THC, it’s still classified as a Schedule I drug – the same as heroin and LSD. Why? For the sole reason that it looks like Marijuana. It’s pure jack-assery if you ask me. You’d have better luck getting high off poppy seeds than hemp. Hemp was a primary crop of the country’s founders, used for making clothes and, most importantly, hempen rope for the US Navy.  Writes Woodpecker:

Barking at Bears (Front)There’s one good thing about getting busted:
It proides a theme for winter writing.
Even though the subject leaves one digusted.
Repression always foments requiting.
To see an armed thug, young and most frightful,
Climbing up to the deck with pistol drawn,
The cat in my lap found it delightful.
For myself, I had to stifle a yawn.
Why be surprised—the chopper overhead!
Conquest abroad brings repression at home.
Fascism’s declared the Bill of Rights dead,
Bush’s return to imperial Rome.
····There are many who will bow to terror
····In my case they’ll find they made an error.

What follows is a year of sonnets, haiku, friendships, anger, politics, joy and just plain life.

Guinness Stout in one hand.
Snow shovel in the other;
The crunch of ice boots.

WP

You will also learn, among other skills, how to avoid a speeding ticket. If you’re a Vet, find  your VA card before finding your license. And if you go twenty miles over the speed limit in Maine, you can be handcuffed and hauled off. Woodpecker never tells us whether he fixed his speedometer.

Hendrik D. Gideonse

Is a builder like me. He discovered his “passion and penchant for building” while in his fifties. I discovered it on the roof of my grandmother’s new porch when eleven years old. I remember Paul Ditto could drive a nail in four strikes. It took me twenty, but I still recall how much I loved standing on the rafters. Framing a building is still something I never get tired of.

Stone WhispererThe only reason I know of Gideonse’s passion for building is because he introduces each of his poems with a snippet of biographical information. I like that. You’ll also find lots of color, humor, nature and honesty. The poems are mostly free verse, but for the occasional exception. His first poem, distinguished by being “the only one I can recite from memory”, is one of them:

Symmetry

My turtle’s means of motion
Aren’t fit for the ocean
But rather the role
Of life in a bowl.

The astute observer may notice a striking resemblance between the cover of Hendrik Gideonse’s book and The Woodpecker’s.

Richard L. Rose

Marking TimeRose is the author of Marking Time: A Memoir and the three part novel FRAMESHIFTS.

Rose himself describes some of the recurrent themes that preoccupy him as “the transience of our lives and habitat and an insistence that we find effective ways to attend to this fact.”

Marking Time is a lovely little book of poems accompanied by color photographs. One of my favorite poems:

Edna

A wringer washer in the corner,
the tub beside it
she carried weekly to the wash house,
she washed now only once a week.

The children gone, she stacked the saucers
she used to keep us
from spilling milky coffee
made sweeter than her Cajun drip.

Awake, she rose as if she had him
to do for, and he
would come to sit beside her,
and she would smell his shaving soap.

FRAMESHIFTS is a tour de force of narratives, interwoven plots and poetry. Rose himself describes it this way:

“It is literary fiction made of multiple genres united by theme and character. At first glance, it appears to be a story collection, beginning with a mystery; but look at the back and you’ll find a philosophical poem. Between the covers are mysteries, suspense stories, literary fiction, science fiction, love stories, fictional memoires and letters, adeventure stories, dramatic dialogues, and a section of poetic narrative made of dozens of forms—sestinas, sonnets, terza rima, droeg-kvaet, prose poems, ballads. One may read the stories and poems in any sequence, but as one reads the stories in a given sequence, a novel emerges.”

True to his word, you will find a wide variety of genres tried and explored:

Warnings

FrameShiftsSome events we elect to ignore—
such as growling under the floor—
but the cautious scratch
that scrapes at the latch
may signify something in store.

The time required to amend
elapses before we intend,
and the clattering scratch,
and rasps at the latch—
these surely—these impend?

Presuming to intervene,
one might inquire of a machine;
if escape wears the latch,
if ratchet wheel catch,
one imposes a thought in, between.

Loose coils that winding deserved
a thought has often preserved.
For a pawl is of tin
and old fittings wear thin
but thoughts last if ever they’ve served.

 From later in FRAMESHIFTS you will find passages like this:

The storm that fattened on our pains,
dividing us from homes, friends, and wives—
and dwindled as we emptied—again arrives:
not as char-black coil or driving rains
hungry for shell-houses and propping-up gains,
but as whispers like a low draft creeping
by an old dog, who sniffs and growls while sleeping.

That’s good stuff and the last lines are worthy of Frost—a beautiful example of metaphor and simile.

jeffrey winke

I’ve reviewed Jeffrey Winke’s haiku a couple years ago. He easily remains one of my favorite writers of erotic haiku:

whats not therestill
swiveling her hips…
pushing a stroller

Erotic haiku don’t get better than that. No anthology of erotic haiku, now or in the future, can justify itself without the inclusion of a few of his haiku. But he also writes classically:

vacant lot
trying to picture
what’s not there

steam
from his heavy glove
winter cafe

You can find these and other haiku in what’s not there.

Gail White

Gail White’s Sonnets in a Hostile World is a collection, a sonnet sequence, of 22 sonnets. What I like most about her sonnets is their wry and shrewd wit.

In a tiny cottage called the Laurel Tree,
Sonnets in a Hostile Worldmy neighbor lived alone. Nobody came
to see her and she had no family,
so week by week her life was much the same:
She went to church and said the rosary,
took in the mail for neighbors out of town,
adopted cats, caught news on BBC,
and at a roll-top desk she wrote things down—
things no one ever saw, although we guessed
a novel, memoirs, poetry, and more—
but we saw nothing, though we did our best.
And when she died alone, at eighty-four,
with no companion but a big gray cat,
we pitied her. We were such fools as that.

Jenepher Lingelbach

I don’t know Jenepher and she’s never commented here, but I include her because I found her little chapbook at a local library book sale and bought it because it’s one of the most beautifully bound and typeset chapbooks I’ve come across. Jenepher’s poetry might remind one of Mary Oliver, but unlike Oliver, Jenepher is unafraid of the occasional rhyme. Her poetry never betrays the sense that she’s gone looking for them, but they show up, almost incidentally, and her poetry is all the more memorable because of it:

Words Like LeavesThe mighty Crow

Crows, raucous crows,
tormenting hawk or owl,
Flinging threats and screaming “Foul” —
Like bullies on a playground.

Protecting Crowdom was their gig
Or ganging up and feeling big?
How well we emulate
The Mighty Crow.

Neal Whitman

Neal Whitman wrote me way back in 2011, never suspecting what a fickle and undependable correspondent I am. So, five years later, a little NealandElaineWhitmanabout his book: Blyth’s Spirit. Way before I started my year of haiku, Neal had already published his collection of haiku/haibun. The book also includes photographs by his wife Elaine Whitman. They’re primarily of national park signs, but why not? I kind of like them. They accompany Neal’s haiku and prose.

“What do you do?
“I’m a poet!”
You know the look that gets. I do explain that I used to be a teacher.
Blyth's Spirit“That’s what I did to make a living. Today poetry is how I live. I read it. Write it. Every day.”
You know the next question,
“Well, hae you been published?”
“You bet,” I tell ’em, “in journals.”
Then they want to know if I get paid.
“Yes, with a free copy of the journal.”
What I do not volunteer is that some publishers expect you to
buy a copy. One more quetsion,
‘So, why do you do it?”

silence in blue hills
speaks to me in secret ways
like fish in the sea

At the time of publishing Blyth’s Spirit, Whitman was a member of the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society, Haiku Poets of Northern California, and the Haiku Society of America. Northern California sounds like a great place to live. Visited there once, and always liked it.

Jenny Land

Jenny Land is a local poet who also produced a beautiful little chapbook with block prints by Matt Brown, an acquaintance of my wife who, as you know, also produces block prints. Jenny Land writes poetry steeped in the landscape of New England.

Trail Break at the Last Sure Water

After swimming I can feel
The river stream from my skin
Into the sponge of the forest floor.

Finding EarthWhile the pool carries away
Last minute’s reflection, I catch
A glimpse of an orange foot,

Four delicate toes reaching
Out from under a rotten log
Towards my sprawled hand.

Blinking eyes appear, then a neck,
Slender ribs beneath thin flesh
And then the tail—

I am still.
The eft clambers out. thirsting
Towards the small sound of water

Dripping down to the forest,
Fingers and moss
From the roots of my river-wet hair.

Valerie Jupe

Valerie Jupe was a visitor at my blog who shared that she had written a book of poetry despite all odds. I decided to review her book, just because I wish someone had done the same for me when I was starting out.

Robert Bates Graber

Robert Graber is another poet who dared to defy the odds and self-published his own book of poetry: Plutonic Sonnets. This is a collection of 164 sonnets, all written with a wry sense of humor. I reviewed Robert’s book way back in 2009.

Susanne Dubroff

Susanne Dubroff is local poet who I first met in Boston at the Harvard Bookstore. This was years and years ago, before I had started my blog. Her book was in the used book section and she, feeling a little sad about that, inspired me to buy it  there and then. Besides being a poet, she’s also an unrivaled translator of Rene Char. If you’d like to try some of Susanne Dubroff’s poetry, then I’d recommend “The One Remaining Star”.

The One Remaining StarThe One Remaining Star

There are mornings when I think of you
so steadily, what good is it to write?
Trust in its ragged wisps, too close to the abyss,
we circle like the beasts accused of soullessness
and I’m afraid. Cryptic and ravenous, our gift,
our gift. We are the secretaries
of the heart, the one remaining star.

& Others

If I’ve overlooked anyone, it wasn’t deliberate. Let me know and I’ll add you to the post.

Erotic Poetry, Love & Passion • A review of Poets & Anthologies

  • As of April 2020, this post has been viewed over 25,000 times. :-)

The Art of Erotic Poetry

I love erotic and love poetry and have several collections; some are good, some are not.

This is a big post, overdue, and the books are given in no particular order (I made a pile on the floor).

I thought readers might enjoy a post giving an overview of what’s available—something which I’ve already done for Erotic Haiku. First, the question: What makes a good erotic poem? Here’s what I wrote in my opening to paragraph to Erotic Haiku:

Just as the haiku is the art of indirection, so too erotica. Whereas the explicit is an imaginative endpoint, the best haiku are a suggestive starting point for the imagination.  Suggestiveness is all – allusion, inference, and association.  And when haiku fail because they were made too explicit, eroticism fails for the same reason: eroticism becomes pornographic.

To me, the best erotic poetry is an imaginative starting point, not an endpoint. The best erotic poems are like the best metaphors; which is to say, to paraphrase the great poet EA Robinson, erotic poetry “tells the more the more it is not told”. When poems become too explicit, they lose something.

Note: I’ve included the books in the post Erotic Haiku in this post for the sake of completeness, but not a detailed review. You can find that at the original post. I’ve also reviewed three more collections of Erotic Haiku and have added them to the present post.

  • Favorite Anthologies: I’ve been asked what I consider to be the best among these anthologies. I strongly recommend the following five:
  • intimate kisses
  • Passionate Hearts
  • The Erotic Spirit
  • The Best American Erotic Poems
  • The Poetry of Sex
  • The Literary  Companion to Sex
  • Erotic Haiku edited by Hiroaki Sato

After each review I’ve added a rating – 1 to 6 ‘s, 6 being the best.

Sex ~ Sex
Art ~ Illustrations and Artwork
Romance ~ Passion & Love Poetry
Look & Feel ~ Typography, Layout, Readability
Poetry ~ Its Quality
Index ~ Content, First Line, Title, Author

  • Note: If you are a poet or publisher who would like me to add your erotic book of poetry to this list (as some publishers have requested), please send a review copy. I’m too poor to buy. Seriously (having spent it all on erotic poetry). I’ll update this post with your book the day I receive it. If you think a book should be on this list, and isn’t, let me know. If you disagree with anything I’ve written, comment. More books will be added over time and I’ll notify those who follow the blog that I’ve done so with a post.

Enjoy!

Continue reading

Erotic Haiku

coquette: Sensual haiku
Jeffrey Winke

My writing of Haiku has fallen off of late.

But I want to get back to writing more. And to get myself warmed up, I’m reviewing three splendid collections.

Eroticism and haiku are a perfect fit. Just as the haiku is the art of indirection, so too erotica. Whereas the explicit is an imaginative endpoint, the best haiku are a suggestive starting point for the imagination.  Suggestiveness is all – allusion, inference, and association.  And when haiku fail because they were made too explicit, eroticism fails for the same reason: eroticism becomes pornographic.

her seven button
blouse…
three undone

❧ Jeffrey Winke

What does the reader imagine? Does he or she imagine that the poet is unbuttoning his lover’s blouse?

Or maybe he sits at a café and can’t help notice a woman’s blouse – three of her buttons, not just unbuttoned, but undone. Where has she been, with whom, and doing what? – he might ask himself. Winke’s haiku invites the imagination, suggests the erotic.

Winke’s slim book, like his haiku, bespeaks care and experience. The backmatter informs us that he co-edited the first small press North American Haiku anthology, the Third Coast Haiku Anthology. He’s also published a separate book of haiku called What’s Not There: Selected Haiku of Jeffrey Winke (I picked up the last used copy at Amazon). If you can’t find his book, visit Byte Studios – the presentation of his haiku, some of which are from coquette, are pretty cool and you can also contact Winke directly.

Don’t buy coquette expecting hours of reading. There are two to three haiku per page but each haiku, if you give it a little time, can suggest a world of eroticism. Just read one and savor it. As to the pages themselves, the layout is spare but thoughtful.

The shadowy images that accompany the haiku quietly comment but remain as subtly suggestive as the poems themselves. All in all, this little collection is caviar for the general. Buy it if you like haiku. Buy it if you like eroticism. But don’t if you are looking for something more explicit.

Venus in view
Brynne McAdoo

Venus in View was not what I was expecting, but I like it and I’m glad I picked up.

Rather than a collection of erotic haiku, you will find six haibun. One of Japan’s greatest works of literature is a haibun – Matsuo Basho’s Narrow Road to the North. In a nutshell, haibun is the genre in which prose passages combine with haiku. Basho’s Journey to the North is a narrative account of his journey through northern Japan, interspersed with haiku, and Brynne McAdoo’s haibun are short erotic narratives interspersed with erotic haiku – Electric Fence, Breastless, Anosmia Affair, Haiku Rendezvous, Halloween Haibun, Nor’easter Coming.

Brynne MacAdoo, by the way, is the author’s pseudonym. She lives two lives, the author tells us. “By day she is a high school teacher, and in her shadow life, she writes erotic haiku under this pseudonym.” How did she think up the name? Brynne means “strong woman” while the “surname is borrowed from her grandmother, a renegade 1935 beauty queen.

McAdoo’s haibun are, by turns, humorous, wistful, salacious and thoughtful. Eroticism isn’t the goal, but the backdrop against which her small stories and poems appear.   The protagonist in each  narrative is a woman, and the men in each story frequently leave something to be desired – women who choose to read McAdoo’s book can expect to have their been there, done that moments, recognizing some of the men who have passed through the lives – or maybe even stayed too long.

personal ad date:
my purse ready with condom
and mace

But what might have been altogether too one-sided in the hands of a lesser poet, is made gracious by the poet’s own self-deprecating sense of humor. If her feet are stepped on, it’s because she picked the wrong dancer. Indeed, some of the haiku are really more senryu-like, a form as old as the haiku but which revels in human foible and are often humorous (if darkly in the hands of their original Japanese masters).

Compare Jeffrey Winke’s haiku, the blouse with it’s three undone buttons, to Brynne McAdoo’s wry riposte:

first & last date –
back from the ladies room
my blouse buttoned higher

If you’re collector, like me, this little book is worthy. Add it to your collection of erotic poetry. If you’re a woman in need of commiseration, look no further.

It’s been nearly a year since I’ve seen him. I even moved, not leaving a forwarding number.

you don’t know
where I live but still
i leave the porch light on

Our phone conversation is short, nothing much exchanged except when and where we will meet, a secret spot: a cheesy cabin restaurant with an artificial fireplace. It is another place neither of us has been to and will never go again. I make sure I wear a black, fringed sweater he’s never seen, a new shade of lipstick, Scarlet O’Hara Red.”

Erotic Haiku
Compiled and Edited with Translations into Japanese by Hiroaki Sato

Sato’s book, rather than being by a single author, is a collection of erotic haiku. Some of the names, like Charles Trumbull & Lee Gurga, will be recognizable  to followers of American haiku. The haiku, being by a variety of authors, also vary in tone. Some are more suggestive than the others and some are explicitly unembarrassed, though Sato has been careful to choose haiku that nevertheless uphold the form’s suggestiveness.

The book is also filled with line-drawn illustrations of the most simplistic sort –  deliberately amateurish. I love them. They compliment the haiku without turning them into Haiga – which would detract from the creators’ original intent – haiku that speak for themselves. Some of the drawings are out and out explicit and on a different blog I might be tempted to reproduce one or two. As it is, the image at right will give you their flavor.

old lovers
only her left nipple
becomes erect
—        Lee Gurga

Sato, a resident of New York, translator and essayist, writes for the Japan Times and was president of the Haiku Society of America from 1979 to 1981. In the backmatter of the book, he discusses the Senryu-like qualities of erotic haiku.

What? Erotic haiku? You mean erotic senryu, no? Haiku sing of seasonal transitions, senryu of human foibles, such as erotic stirrings, don’t they? ¶ Yes, that is the usual distinction made. But when you think of the history of Japanese verse — the tanka splitting into the upper and lower hemistiches, thereby creating the renga, which, in turn, spawned the hokku, then the haiku—you realize that there was difficulty from the outset in making a distinction between haiku and senryu by subject matter. “Love,” an important subject in tanka, was not only inherited by renga, but renga masters such as Minamoto no Sozei (died 1455) and Nishiyama Soin (1605-1682) have left “Love Hyakuin,” in which each of the one-hundred units dealt with “love.”

Then, after reminding readers that eroticism can find historical precedent in classical Japanese literature, he makes the curious argument that English haiku, unlike Japanese haiku, is free (read: has no rules). He writes: “So, to define haiku in English, you must say ‘it is that which the person who wrote it calls haiku.’ No, I’m not joking.” Sato may insist that he’s not joking but, fortunately for the rest of us (and according to those who were involved in the project), he seems to have had a very clear grip on what constituted haiku when collecting them for his anthology. Even if he’s not joking, I don’t take him seriously.

In his choices, he did a gorgeous job.

mouth  open skyward
on her tongue raindrops
of my love
—             Jukka Saario

Of the three books, this book will be the most difficult to find. It appears to be out of print and Amazon’s resellers are trying to retire on its resale value. Be patient. If you wait long enough, as I did, a reasonably priced copy may show up. Wait, buy it, and you won’t regret it. My own feeling is that the book is a gem of poetic eroticism, the best collection of erotica haiku available, but I don’t recommend paying more than $30 dollars for it unless you’re the type who just has to have it for your erotic collection. Wait, and you won’t feel as though you’ve paid too much for too little. (The book was originally priced at $9.95.)

spring equinox
with the lilacs she comes out
as bisexual

❧ Brynne McAdoo

Erotic Haiku & Senryu Online

There are also bloggers and online poets who are trying their hand at erotic haiku and senryu. The sites, obviously, aren’t for the under aged or the prudish. For the rest, you may enjoy what you find.

Remittance Girl, among the most talented of erotic writers on the Internet, has tried her hand at haiku.

Haiku: Sleeping in the Shadow

The Erotic Writer is a relatively new blog.

Senryū: Edge of the World, Metamorph, Vignettes

Cernuus is also a relatively new blog whose Senryu you might enjoy:

Senryu

And here are some erotic haiku by Steve Mount

Erotic Haiku by Steve Mount

And here is a collection of erotic haiku at AHAPoetry.

Erotic Haiku

Lastly, you can find my own erotic haiku at right: Categories/Haiku/Erotic.

Enjoy. And if you can recommend other sites or books please do so. I and other readers will thank you.

Solstice Haiku

  • Just a couple days ago, I sent out a query to all the haiku bloggers on my blogroll, and any others who might be interested, asking if they wanted to put together some solstice haiku.

Here are four haiku from William Sorlien:

shortest day
or the longest night
life is choices

§

the longest night
studying old photos
of winters past

§

winter solstice
with it a reckoning
in falling snow

§

solstice night
ice fishing alone
over deep water

And here is a haiku by Jeffrey Winke author of, among other books,  Meow Poetry: Fun, fabulous, feline verse:

§

And here are two Haiku by Jim Long, author of Between Wings:

§

My own tradition is to write an Erotic Haiku at every solstice and equinox (though I hardly need a rationale). It’s just an enjoyable tradition. So, here is Patrick Gillespie’s erotic Winter Solstice Haiku:

  • Dec 22 ❧ Just received two more Haiku.

Here’s a Haiku from Bill at Haiku-USA:

in an old yearbook
that girl I never kissed–
winter solstice

§

And one more from one of my favorite bloggers, Emma Dalloway, at Australian Haiku: