Saturday, July 31, 2010

Feedback on Issue 12

The response to Issue 12 "A Fetish for Good Poetry" has almost all been very positive. A few people have raised interesting questions about our inclusion of several gay-themed poems in the issue. Aditi Machado even Twittered about it: "Why is gay sex 'weird'?"

In her case, the confusion probably arose from Nigel's (obviously, I thought) tongue-in-cheek use of "weird" in his editorial. In this twittering age, irony is a risky thing.

We also interpreted the theme fairly loosely, of necessity. Otherwise we would have had to eliminate much of the issue.

Take Marybeth Rua-Larsen's "Aubade," for example. The speaker sounds more like an adventurous wife adding some spice to her marriage than a fetishist in the strictest sense of the word. And the speaker in Michael Ferris's "Those Hills" just happens to like a nice ass - that's hardly unusual. We accepted those poems because we liked them and they were at least tangentially relevant to the theme, though not necessarily right smack on the nose.

Anyway, these questions raise some interesting questions themselves. As I see it, all of Jee's poems in the issue have a kinky element, independent of orientation. But just for the sake of argument, let's suppose that wasn't the case. Is including a sexy poem by a gay poet in a fetish-themed issue the same as literally equating "gay" with "fetishistic"? I don't think so. And underlying that question is another, trickier, question: inaccuracy aside, is there something insulting about such an equation? Only if you think fetishes are bad.


Blogger Nemo said...

Actually, to me, it seems merely an acknowledgment that kink crosses all boundaries--gay straight male female whatever. It would be weirder if those elements were missing.

Also it can't be denied that we as kinky sexual beings are defined by the particular ways in which our desires have been marginalized. So on that level there is something kinky about gay sex in general. Rather than long for such a degree of normalcy that any thought of gay sex would be strictly vanilla and white bread--I, for one, would rather hold onto any vestiges of kink that still cling to what's gay and amplify them. I like it on the edge, even over the edge, and am gay and proud to be in such perverse company.


12:13 pm  
Blogger Caratacus said...

I have a strong fetish for vanilla-flavoured straight sex with intelligent women. Weird or what?


All such proclivities are tabulated -
By trained pathologists, in detail too -
The obscener parts of speech oompulsively
Shrouded in Classic Latin.

But though my pleasure in your feet and hair
Is ungainsayable, let me protest
(Dear love) I am no trichomaniac
And no foot-fetichist.

If it should please you, for your own best reasons,
To take and flog me with a rawhide whip,
I might (who knows?) surprisedly accept
This earnest of affection.

Nothing, agreed, is alien to love
When pure desire has overflowed its baulks;
But why must private sportiveness be viewed
Through public spectacIes?

Enough, I will not claim a heart unfluttered
By these case-histories of aberrancy;
Nevertheless a long cool draught of water,
Or a long swim in the bay,

Serves to restore my wholesome appetite
For you and what we do at night together:
Which is no more than Adam did with Eve
In the quiet glades of Eden.

- by Robert Graves


2:33 pm  
Blogger Caratacus said...

Every proclivity is kinky. Otherwise, where's the fun?


7:09 pm  
Blogger Ivana Dashemoff said...

Actually, Paul, I find the Graves poem rather smug - trumpeting his "wholesomeness" to the world, at the same time suggesting that aberrancy should be hushed up, and finally citing a Bible story as proof of his wonderfulness.

That whole "Aw, shucks, I'm just a simple joe who enjoys simple pleasures" attitude:

(1) assumes sexual preferences are a choice, or a decadent acquired taste, as opposed to something in the way people are wired;

(2) assumes sexual preferences other than one's own are NOT simple, but needlessly "fancy";

(3) is Puritanical at heart, in that "simple" pleasures are typically assumed to be more virtuous than those supposedly fancy, decadent pleasures that others prefer.


4:32 am  
Blogger Caratacus said...

That reading seems a little doctrinaire — I think perhaps the poetry is a little more complex than you suggest. But finally I respond to the poetics of it thus: that every alleged "aberrancy" is basically & equally innocent for those in a state of love-innocence.


6:30 pm  
Blogger Caratacus said...

"I have a strong fetish for vanilla-flavoured straight sex with intelligent women. Weird or what?" —This were meant as a joke. I think it fell flat. Wot — me kinky? Not for nothing am I called Stevo the Devo.


11:30 am  

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