All We Know of Pleasure: Poetic Erotica by Women is a hugely satisfying collection edited by Enid Shomer and published by Carolina Wren Press.

It’s intriguing in part because the book is divided by the age of the poets and their subjects.
Part I, The Discovery of Sex, is all about first longing.
Part II, The Ordinary Day Begins, is about sex in the years of active motherhood.
Part III, When this Old Body, is of course my favorite and the part I read first.

“And suddenly, again, I want the long road of your thigh,” writes Jane Hirshfield of the desire that comes in long knowing.

“our bodies move and join / unbearably. / your face above me / is the face of all the gods / and beautiful demons,” writes Lenore Kandel, reminding us of the timelessness of lust.

“Neither of them was young. His beard was gray… But they kissed lavish kisses like the ocean in the early morning… We couldn’t look away,” writes Ellen Bass about a couple reunited at the Portland airport. These fine poems capture what it is to be a woman in love with life across its full span.

Author: Enid Shomer

Book Cover for 'All We Know of Pleasure'

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