AROUND 'A VOW': EuroticA
Updated: Oct 2
'When our bodies, left to drift,
to each other hold on tight,
and we throw love a gift
at the face of the night...'
-'An Embrace', extract from 'A Vow - A Collection of Love Poems'
'A Vow' being my collection of love poems celebrating marriage, it doesn't shy away from erotica and the risque. After all, what would be romance without the fiery outbursts of consuming passion?
Sex poems, though, aren't easy to write. When not having to face stifling prudery or, on the contrary, timid humility, it's very easy to be either terribly cliches, or, worse, crassly vulgar. To suggest is not to tell, and the line can be very thin indeed between a great sex poem and a vile display of pornographic.
Yet, from Juvenal to Milton and Sappho to Verlaine, many poets have managed to walk such thin line with brilliance. Where to start? I have picked here a couple of anthologies those contents put together could easily be the absolute list of the best erotic poems ever written.
'Erotic Verse', edited by Christopher Hurford, claims to be 'a shameless celebration of sexual poetry, with less of the boudoir and more of the bedroom'. Well, it clearly leans towards the steamy and funny side of things! It's not that there aren't some beautiful poems on lovemaking in here. It's just that these sex poems quickly seem to be outweighed by a display of under the belt kind of wit, which might not be to everyone's taste. If you are the type to enjoy the playfulness of cheeky limericks, then go for it! As for me, if you have read 'A Vow', my collection of love poems, you will know that when it comes to lust I personally prefer sex poems and erotica that embrace the sensual, lascivious, and passionate over the naughty gaudiness:
'...we wander, lost
between oblivion and time
where our love is dancing,
trembling and shaky
like flames of candles
(for like flames of candles
is my tongue, drawing love,
in your intimacy).
-'A Harvest', extract from 'A Vow - A Collection of Love Poems'
'Your bent desire
my stabbing embrace
abandoned and vanquished, to lay down
-'A Thought', extract from 'A Vow - A Collection of Love Poems'
'Making Love - The Picador Book of Erotic Verse', my second pick when it comes to the absolute best erotic poems ever written as far as I am concerned, therefore better reflects my personal tastes. Edited by Alan Bold, it pretend to equally represent 'the elegantly erotic and the basically bawdy'. Funnily enough, though, it fails to achieve such balance. Yet, it's precisely in its failure that it ends up being a well-crafted (even if accidentally) display of lovely suggestive poems, largely ignoring the salacious. Of course, it has its fair share of colourful, amusing, and kinky naughtiness! However, lovemaking is not simply reduced to a bawdy physical activity to giggle about but is (again, mostly) glorified through very sensuous and imaginative eroticism. Steamy yet subtle, here is a great display of lascivious passion, closer to my own aspirations when writing about such a topic.
And you? What are your absolute favourites sex poems and erotica? Boyish as in 'Erotic Verse', or more sensuous as in 'Making Love'?
The title of this post, 'EuroticA', is a song by Moonspell (from the album 'Sin/Pecado', Century Media, 1998).
'A Vow', my collection of love poems including erotica is available on Amazon: