The Poetry of Sex - Sophie Hannah

The Poetry of Sex


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'It's the way that you say I don't usually do this.'

Romance and poetry seem to go hand in hand but - implicit, explicit, nuanced or starkly frank - sex itself has long been a staple subject for poets. In fact it's hard to imagine a more fruitful subject for poets than sex, in all its glorious manifestations: from desire and hope, through disappointment and confusion, to conclusion and consequence. And little has changed over the centuries, as Sophie Hannah's anthology vividly demonstrates, from Ovid describing a summer afternoon of love-making to Rosemary Tonks telling the Story of a Hotel Room. Moods and attitudes may vary but the drive persists, as does the desire to write about it.

Sophie Hannah's selection ranges from ancient Rome to modern New York, from gay to straight, from marital bliss to furtive adultery. There are poems that take a cavalier approach to sexual behaviour which some would regard as immoral, poems about fantasising about a lover while being in bed with another, poems about blow jobs and sex in the office - alongside many poems about wholesome, committed, sanctioned sex that breaks no rules. But all the poems in the anthology have one resounding characteristic: they are low on the sugar and high on the excitement.

About the Author

Sophie Hannah has published five collections of poetry. Her fifth Pessimism for Beginners was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Award in 2007. She also writes internationally successful psychological crime thrillers. She lives with her husband and children in Cambridge.