Home Bookstore Cooking Reviews Site Map

Books about Desire

Exquisite Desire

 

A Sophisticated Study of Desire, July 26, 2006

Carey Ellen Walsh's philosophical discussion of desire is a stimulating intellectual exploration of what fuels our lives. Desire, often banned to some corner of our existence, if often unspoken and controlled by social norms. In the Song of Songs, desire reigns in all its beauty and captivating spirituality, leaving us wondering why we didn't recognize the importance of this book before.

"We are confessing our vulnerability to desire, admitting that it threatens our very selfhood. The paradox of human sexual desire is that we simultaneously want to be undone by love and fear it." ~ pg. 71

You may even start to find it humorous that for years people may be carrying a Bible around not knowing that within the pages a book of erotica (desire with emotion not only description of action) has been preserved through the ages. While many believe the poetry is also representative of our longing for a union with the divine, the metaphors indicate a very earthly and erotic masterpiece. The sensually charged language, once explained fully, takes our understanding of love much further than a general understanding of yearning and infatuation. After studying the poetry, the desire seems representative of a much deeper need, a bonding of soul mates.

"The woman's life force is marked through and through by her love for this man. In her case, it is not simply her romantic interest alongside other life interests. Instead, it characterizes the whole of her existence." ~ pg. 78

What many books don't indicate is that this is a book written by King Solomon who was wooing a shepherdess. The author does mention this briefly in "Woman's voice in the Canon." Could this Shulamite virgin have been his soul mate? The poetry makes more sense within the context of a couple meeting, marrying and then making a life together. The word "my spouse" is used in the KJV. Whether you decide this was written by a man or a woman, this ancient love poetry is still fascinating to study. A door is no longer a door, water takes on multiple meanings and nature is used as powerful symbols of the lover's desires.

This book gave me completely new insights into how and why we write poetry. This book takes forever to read because it is an intricate study, but if you enjoy poetry it may open up new worlds. Carey Ellen Walsh also discusses desire throughout history, briefly mentions Romeo and Juliet and delves into examples from the Odyssey. She does seem to have her own agenda throughout, but you can take what you need and take some of her ideas and think about them from her perspective.

A beautiful compliment to this book is the Song of Songs adapted and illustrated by Judith Ernst.

~The Rebecca Review

 

Song of Songs Love Poetry

 

Spiritual and Sensual Love, July 25, 2006

"In the imagery of the verses, God's art, the divine art, is the creation, and the essence of that art is the body of the beloved."

Reading the Song of Songs at a much younger age, I failed to grasp the beauty of metaphors and Judith Ernst's insightful exploration of this mysterious book finally unveiled the mystical and sensual awakening of a woman in love. Not only has the text been updated for the modern reader, the beauty of the King James Version has been preserved.

The Song of Songs is written from many perspectives and has many voice, but the predominant theme is that of feminine desire. The depth of longing is magnified by action and as human passion overwhelms the subject, she goes looking for her lover.

"...for love is strong as death, jealousy is cruel as the grave. Its darts are darts of fire, a flame forever blazing. Many seas cannot quench love..."

Most of the pictures in the book show a woman waiting for her lover in a variety of locations. She is found in beautiful gardens, vineyards and by a palm tree. The images in the text are brought to life vividly, but only with the woman as the subject. Instead of focusing on what a man would find to be sensual and sexy, the woman is portrayed filled with longing and emotion, which makes her much more spiritually appealing.

After each passage is presented, Judith Ernst explores the possible meanings and unveils the intricacies in the translation. While the message in the words seems to indicate purely human passion, scholars would lead us to believe this is a representation of our longing for a connection for the divine. After reading this book, you may feel that the desire for another could be very related to a desire to worship the divine. Reading this book gave me new perspectives and much to consider about the permanence of desire since ancient times and how it reveals itself in stories of love and fuels our love for life.

~The Rebecca Review

 

 

Poetry for Reading Pleasure


Intimate Kisses

 

Words Dipped in Pleasure, June 7, 2005

"Sex within a context of real love, commitment, and safety is expansive and deeply pleasurable." ~Wendy Maltz

Until I started writing my own poetry; there was no way to realize the depth of emotion present in intimate poems. How do you even remember everything that happens when almost unaware of time itself and captured in a mystery or moment of breathless wonder?

Do poets hover above themselves in some dreamlike state observing this ecstatic union awaiting its birth in words? Does the soul watch the body's pleasure, silently? It seems it does because when poems arrive often they spill out onto the page in line after line of meaningful remembrance without much effort or thought. These types of poems seem born of longing, fantasy, dreams and the ancient desires all humans share. There is also humor in some of the rhymes or a casual elegance.

Nikki Giovanni brings an amusing style to her poetry in "That Day." The poem dances with the pleasure of the rhyme.

if you've got the key
then i've got the door
let's do what we did
when we did it before


Peeling an Orange by Virginia Hamilton Adair also shows the playfulness of love as two lovers play with oranges and the spicy scent of orange oil fills the air.

There are poems that are more direct and sensual and they explore the depths of the human experience and often express our desire to feel loved until our bodies vibrate at a higher frequency. This subtle purr or contentment after a loving experience can actually be felt in the body, but it is often difficult to describe. Some of the lovers wish to die in this blissful state after union. Wendy Lee expresses this desire in "Seamless Beauty" where she wishes to "fall into a deep sleep and never wake up."

Many of the poems contain nature images, especially water, the moon and surprisingly...many images of moths. What more could I wish for? There are swarms of luminous moths or ecstasy in a desert sea. A few of the poems have culinary themes. Jay Farbstein remembers a scene in the kitchen and how the pleasure of tastes turns into a worshipful experience.

Mostly, this is beautiful creative writing with a sensual theme. There are poems reflecting on past loves, poems about intense sensual encounters (Making Love by Walt Farran) and others where the poet wishes for future fulfillment. Like in Thirst by Linda Alexander:

Like a blade of summer grass
turning towards a fragrance
of rain caught in the air's
cooling, I come back to you


Wendy Maltz has created a sensitive and sacred sanctuary of healthy sexual experience in which lovers give sexuality a unique voice filled with imagination and metaphor. This is beyond romance, but never abusive or degrading. There is still a subtle mystery present in most of the poems. I loved the images in On Entering the Sea where Nizar Qabbani speaks of his experience as a "sliding under the skin of water...like writing with jasmine water."

The poems are divided into five chapters: Anticipation & Desire, Self-Awareness & Discovery, Admiration & Appreciation, Union & Ecstasy and Afterglow & Remembrance.

The poets featured: Marge Piercy, Emily Dickinson, Patti Tana, Robert Browning, Robin Jacobson, Linda Alexander, Floyd Skloot, George Keithley, David Meuel, Debra Pennington Davis, Penny Harter, Nikki Giovanni, Rumi, Trudi Paraha, Vigrinia Hamilton Adair, Stephen Dunn, Abigail Albrecht, Sharon Olds, Octavio Paz, Nizar Qabbani, Anon, Cummings, Kenneth Rexroth, June Sylvester Saraceno and Penny Harter.

What is especially delicious about this book of poetry is the introduction to a variety of new poets. For many of the poets, this is the first time their poems were published. I fell in love with Trudi Paraha's poetry. Her descriptions of painting love poems over sheets went beyond creative. She plays with words as if they owned her heart.

The erotic human experience is often a place of immense pleasure and most of the poets in this book seem to be writing from a place of relationship, trust and honesty. There is a nurturing quality to the lust, a beautiful connection between souls and an almost spiritual element in the union of lovers in a comforting embrace and heartfelt connection.

David Meuel's poems are especially interesting. He speaks of talking in touches and listening to each other's fingertips. In just a few sentences he can create amazing situations of desire. "What Makes It Good" shows his talent and "Ten Years Together" displays a rare intimacy between souls.

While you may think of erotic poems as poetry to excite passion, I found many of these poems were dipped in pleasure, but still retained an element of comfort. This is the type of book you can read at night before you go to bed and it may even produce beautiful dreams of the person you love. Intimate Kisses is as much a kiss for the mind as for the heart.

Something like my soul slips from me
and goes to you,
without choice or question,
and wraps itself around you
all night, like the breath
of the moon

~Gina Zeitlin

Intimate Kisses is an excellent choice is you have longed to know the experience of poets who can deftly describe the devotional side of desire. If you love this book, you may want to look for Passionate Hearts: The Poetry of Sexual Love. I can highly recommend both selections because they focus on positive images of sexual love.

~The Rebecca Review

 

Kama Sutra Warming Oil Chocolate Mint

 

Chocolate Mint Warming Oil, July 25, 2006

More delicious than a lip gloss, warming and tingly, you may find interesting uses for this edible massage oil. You can use it as a massage oil although it is slightly more sticky and sweet. It warms slightly on the skin, but mostly when tasted. Surprise the one you love with a chocolate kiss by using this as a lip gloss. The oil looks like a cherry gloss vanilla syrup and comes in a corked glass bottle you'd imagine finding on the beach. When empty you can refill with regular massage oils. I can almost guarantee if you try this flavor, you will want to try the rest. I thought the flavor was rather sweet, minty and delicious.

~The Rebecca Review

 

Home Bookstore Cooking Reviews Site Map