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The Body and the Book

Writings on Poetry and Sexuality

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The stimulating mix of academics and practising poets that have contributed to this volume provides an unusual and illuminating integration of critical and creative practice and a vibrantly diverse approach to questions of poetry and sexuality. Each section of essays is complemented by poems which creatively illustrate or develop the theme with which the essays critically engage. Rather than being limited to a specific genre, tradition, time or place, this collection seeks to make a virtue of contrast, comparison and juxtaposition. The collection is arranged into sections that range broadly across the thematic ground of dichotomies, traditions and revisions, microscopic and macroscopic perspectives, women and embodiment, and the notion of play and performance. Positioning eighteenth-century tinkers ballads alongside medieval Hebrew lyrics and the Blues of Gorgeous Puddin’, or making Dionysus rub shoulders with Sharon Olds and Mrs Rochester provides new perspectives on familiar material and valuable insights into more obscure work and the nature of sensual poetry as a mode of expression. As the editors suggest, the essays and poems presented collectively argue that writings about sexuality are always already about the way poets see and represent our bodies, the world and poetic language itself.

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