Poetry And Sex Essay

2057 words - 8 pages

Poetry and Sex

Since the beginning of human existence, there has been once practice,
one instinct, one single obsession that we cannot escape. Some may
call it necessary; others say it’s a gift. It can be controlling,
enlightening but it’s oh so powerful. It isn’t the need for food,
safety or shelter. It isn’t love nor greed nor vanity, but sex, ladies
and gentlemen.

With the evolution of human communication poets have been using the
power of words to describe the practice of sex, and the emotions that
come with it. As a guest speaker invited to this years festival, I
have explored how sex is expressed through poetry from a multitude of
cultures and eras. It has become apparent that the traditions and
values of a society shapes the form, right down to the style of
language and words used, of poetry from its respective era. While
values have and will continue to change, sex is a universal practice,
and therefore a universal theme of poets the world over.

To demonstrate this, I will analyze three poems: ‘Kubla Khan,’ by
Samuel Coleridge, ‘Sexual Healing,’ by Marvin Gaye and David Ritz and
‘Adultery’ by Carol Ann Duffy. Although all poems have the same
central theme of sex, the way they express it differs quite radically.

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan

A stately pleasure-dome decree:

Where Alph, the sacred river, ran

Through caverns measureless to man

Down to a sunless sea.

These are the opening lines of Kubla Khan, in which the era of its
poet is made clear. Samuel Coleridge was from the Romantic period, an
era in which freedom, simplicity and the humble life were reflected
through poetry. Above all else though, Romantic poetry featured a
strong presence of nature, wild and untamed, the opposite to the stiff
formal gardens of Victorian England.

So twice five miles of fertile ground

With walls and towers were girdled round:

The influence of Romanticism is immediately apparent in the first two
stanzas of Kubla Khan, alongside a feeling of the east and a touch of

And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills

Where blossomed many an incense- bearing tree;

Coleridge constantly relates to nature within Kubla Khan, making it
inherent to Romantic poetry, yet this poem is not strictly about
nature. At first glance it is description of Coleridge’s drug-induced
version of Paradise, but a common interpretation of Kubla Khan is that
it is an allegory for Coleridge’s repressed sexual desires and

But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted

Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!

A holy place! As holy and enchanted

At this point of the poem, connections can be made between his words
and sexuality, such as ‘fertile ground’ and potency, or ‘deep romantic
chasm,’ a metaphor for a part of the female anatomy. He refers to this
chasm as holy and enchanted, alluding to the mystery of women. It is
almost as if Coleridge himself is mystified and awed up until...

Find Another Essay On Poetry and Sex

"Sex Without Love:"by Sharon Olds Essay

818 words - 3 pages --freed her to develop her own voice. Olds has published eight volumes of poetry, includes The Dead and the Living (1984), The Wellspring (1996), The Gold Cell, (1987) etc. As in her earlier works, she has been praised for the courage and emotional power of her work which continues to witness pain, love, desire, and grief with persistent courage. "Sex Without Love," by Sharon Olds passionately describes the author's disgust for casual sex and her

Modern Indian English Poetry: An Overview

2413 words - 10 pages crusader against this internal conflict of morality and female sexuality irrespective of her traditional background and treated sex explicitly in her poetry. “Call her Kamla Das, Madhavikutti or Suriya, but the women by any name” whose introduction is given by herself in the poem “An Introduction”: “I am Indian, very brown, born in Malabar, speak three languages, write in Two, dream in one”. In the poem “The Dance of the Eunuchs‟ she portrays this

What is in Poetry that Has the Ability to Cure a Patient?

3375 words - 14 pages What if the simple rhyme and rhythm of a poem, the beauty it illustrates through its sound, could heal the sick? Is it simply in the mind, where the patient thinks they are healed by the words, or is it a physical treatment? It is heard of that mentally ill and even physically ill patients listen to words, and they are healed or in a healthier state of mind. It was written that “Poetry has an element, euphony, giving the poem an aesthetic

Poetry of the Heian Period

1198 words - 5 pages The role of poetry in narrative prose of the Heian period was shaped through history under Chinese influence. This led to its importance in Japanese society and use not only as stand-alone works, but as significant parts of narrative prose, like monogatari and nikki. The poetry greatly reflected its use in societal activities, especially in the lives of the aristocrats. As the society developed, so did the style of Japanese narrative prose

Allen Ginsberg

1589 words - 6 pages himself of one fear after another (Mitchell 30). His influence on everyone he came in contact with carries on even after his death, and many writers dedicate their time to documenting his life as it affected them. Readers of his poetry say he has "a delicate lyrical style reminiscent of certain seventeenth century poets" (Brinnin 49). Allen Ginsberg, father of the beat generation, was the embodiment of the ideals of personal freedom, nonconformity, and

How john donne showed his love

2158 words - 9 pages How John Donne Showed his Love John Donne's poetry has been both ridiculed and praised. One reason for the ridicule is due to the fact that many people believe his work is vulgar, and his discussion of sex may seem improper to some people. Even in this modern age some people may find it a bit offensive. You can imagine what people thought of it in the sixteenth century. His discussion of sex in this "disgusting" manner is more obvious and

You know

2357 words - 9 pages eventually broken up again. John Keats's To Autumn is, very obviously, about autumn. Generally, you don't have to look far to find the subject. 2. Theme. The theme is what the poem is 'really' about. It's been said that all serious poetry is about God, sex (or love) and death, and that great poetry is often about more than one of them. The subject of Blake's Tiger Tiger is, on the surface of it, a Tiger. But when you consider it further, it becomes

The Poetic Style of Henry Charles Bukowski

841 words - 3 pages Henry Charles Bukowski Poetry is the art of rhythmical composition written or spoken for exciting pleasure by beauty imaginative or elevated thought. It is also literary work in metrical form. By definition, a poet is a person how composes poetry. The relationship between poetry and the late Henry Charles Bukowski is equivalent to that of a professional ice skater and the

Indo-English Women Poetry: A Journey From Feminism to Post-Feminism

2069 words - 8 pages their experiences and see the modulations of the innermost recesses of their pulsating personality and of Indian women. Works Cited Beauvoir, Simone de.1952. The Second Sex, Trans. H. M. Parshley, New York: Vintage Publications. Chavan, Sunanda P.1984. “Modern Indian English Women Poets: An Overview.” Perspective on Indian Poetry in English, Ed. M. K. Naik. New Delhi: Abhinav Publication. Cuddon, J.A.1979. A Dictionary of Literary

Sex, Pornography, and Lolita

2959 words - 12 pages freely express himself/herself through sex than any other topic. Poetry, after thorough examination and explication, is often found used by the author as a way to express emotions or to provide social commentary. The poet May Swenson, in her poem “In Love Made Visible” uses her poetry as a medium to discuss homosexuality and love. Swenson, a lesbian and Mormon, was repressed by those in her community. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day

Metaphysical Poetry in The Seventeenth Century

947 words - 4 pages Metaphysical wit and conceit are two of the most famous literary devices used in the seventeenth century by poets such as John Donne. Emerging out of the Petrarchan era, metaphysical poetry brought a whole new way of expression and imagery dealing with emotional, physical and spiritual issues of that time. In this essay I will critically analyse the poem, The Flea written by John Donne in which he makes light of his sexual intentions with his

Similar Essays

In John Donne's Poetry, The Craft Of Poetry, Sex And Religion Are Intertwined. Discuss With Reference To Three Of Donne's Poems.

2290 words - 9 pages Born into the Christian religion of Catholicism, John Donne converted to Anglicanism in midlife and as a result; it is unsurprising to find that a large amount of his poetry is devoted to religion and his relationship with god. However, upon examination of his works, we can discern that his relationship with God is intertwined with his relationships, both real and desired, with sex . To begin to examine Donne's works, we must first unpack his

Techniques Used In The Writing Of Metaphysical Poetry

614 words - 2 pages The ideas and techniques of the metaphysical poets were much different from those of some of the earlier poets we have read. This type of poetry was established in the early 17th century England. In metaphysical poetry, an obvious use of sex and sexual innuendos is prevalent, as opposed to earlier times when it was rarely even mentioned. It also was a more realistic variety of poetry and was much less fairytale or fantasy. Another technique of

Walt Whitman: The American Poet Essay

993 words - 4 pages sex openly and frankly. Nobody is truly sure if he had relations with men, but he did write about it. He wrote about many other things too, like God, himself, and politics. He was an abolitionist, but thought that the abolitionist movement could be a hazard to democracy in America.Ralph Waldo Emerson recognized Whitman's talent and believed that he was one of the greatest new age poets of that time. Emerson called Whitman's poetry "new American

The Dark Life And Confessional Poetry Of Sylvia Plath

2272 words - 9 pages By the mid twentieth century, the dominance of post-modernist literature began to decline with the emergence of contemporary poets, who brought with them a new type of perspective within their poetry. These poets—especially those who wrote confessional poetry—established their poetry in a single, unified voice that accentuated intimate human topics such as death, sexuality, and family. An important contributor to contemporary and confessional