Reviews||

The Emma Press Anthology of Mildly Erotic Verse

6th Nov 2013

★★★★★
The Emma Press Anthology of Mildly Erotic Verse
In an era where sex is endemic in popular culture, used to the both express and exploit the desires of women from their tweens up (here's twerking at you, Miley), it is gratifying to be able to turn to something as gentle and interesting as The Emma Press Anthology of Mildly Erotic Verse.

Founded by publisher Emma Wright in 2012, The Emma Press is a wholly independent operation that aims to publish “the kind of writing that makes people laugh and cry and text extracts to their friends because it inspires such a strong response in them.”

In this varied collection of poetry Wright and her co-editor Rachel Piercey have achieved just that.

The slim volume has given twenty-three poets the chance to express their own erotic sensibilities. Some of the poetry is direct and graphic, while some is subtle, gentle, and merely hints at the possibilities that lay veiled between its lines.

The mix is essential because it not only allows a greater number of talents to be showcased in the work, but it also more accurately reflects the huge range of experiences readers will have undoubtedly encountered in their own lives.

A collection that can be dipped in and out of when one is need of distraction and diversion, rather than the physical relief that accompanies one-handed reads. A poem such as Jacqueline Saphra’s The Frozen Man is descriptive and direct, referring to the act of sex in deliciously physical terms. For Saphra’s narrator the physicality of sex is crucial and evoked exceptionally well by her short contribution.

Saphra has previously been granted Arts Council Funding for her poetry, and was a wise inclusion on the parts of the editors whose eye for talent is indubitable.

Other poems are direct, engaging the reader by illustrating some of the thoughts that can lead up to an encounter: Have you imagined having sex with me? asks travel writer and first time poet Emma Reay before wondering if she is “…a pliable edible fool?/ Or cougar-clawed, mature and cruel?”

Both humorous and insightful, poems such as these bring a delightful tingle to the skin, making a gentle smile play on the reader’s lips while they too consider how delightful the build-up of erotic charge before an encounter can be.

It is always tempting to write “love” when talking about poetry but as the collection takes in much more of the sexual experience than the loving one the term is to be avoided.

This anthology of Midly Erotic Verse is immensely enjoyable: a collection that can be dipped in and out of when one is need of distraction and diversion, rather than the physical relief that accompanies one-handed reads. Highly recommended.