Love & Sex

Sex Is Better Written in Poetry, Argues a Poet

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Because good sex needs rhythm.

When it comes to sex, rhythm counts. Gentle tapping doesn't do it, manic fast-slow thrusts fail, and jackhammering is verboten. No medium really reflects the significance of the beat quite like poetry. That's the argument of Sophie Hannah, an acclaimed poet, whose forthcoming Penguin poetry anthology, The Poetry of Sex, seeks to prove why sex is better in poetry.

This anthology is following in the footsteps of the Bad Sex Awards, an annual title that goes to the most heinously written sex scene in fiction. This year's went to Manil Suri who wrote, "We streak like superheroes past suns and solar systems, we dive through shoals of quarks and atomic nuclei. In celebration of our breakthrough fourth star, statisticians the world over rejoice." Oof. Maybe Suri would have fared better if he'd just put in a few line breaks.

"I am not sure why, but it is easier to write well about sex in poetry than in fiction. Perhaps it is because we want sex (ideally) to be anything but prosaic," Hannah told the Guardian. So, what illustrious poems made the cut into Hannah's anthology? Among many selections, you'll read the licentious verse of Shakespeare, Andrew Marvell, Walt Whitman, and even two contemporary poems featuring Daniel Craig fandom. The latter features the incomparable line: Craig "rises like a Christ newly baptized in sky blue trunks."

The collection will be published on January 30th by Viking Press. Start thrusting in trochaic tetrameter.

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