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The Best American Erotic Poems: From 1800 to the Present
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The Best American Erotic Poems: From 1800 to the Present

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  89 ratings  ·  21 reviews
There is a deep tradition of eroticism in American poetry. Thoughtful, provocative, moving, and sometimes mirthful, the poems collected in The Best American Erotic Poems celebrate this exuberant sensuality.

These poems range across the varied landscapes of love and sex and desire -- from the intimate parts of the body to the end of an affair, from passion to solitary self...more
Paperback, 300 pages
Published February 5th 2008 by Scribner (first published 2008)
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The best line: "Your pink cowboy hat is my vagina."

I have to say I'm shocked at the 3.74 star average! My husband, best friend and her husband spent a few hours reading these out loud and laughing hysterically tonight. There is nothing remotely sexy or erotic about these poems...especially the one where a boy wants to lick someone's armpit and then the guy dies. Huh.
Nicole Rea
Tennessee Williams' poem. Enough said.
Absolutely great; exactly what I was hoping for from a poetry anthology. I didn't love every poem, but I read every poem. I learned a little, I reconnected with good poets, I read lines out loud.

As a self-described poetry novice, eroticism is a good way to connect with verse and much like sex, even when it's's not THAT bad. It's also easier to compare and experience different styles when the subject is the same/similar. I probably should have started this year's "Poetry New Year's Reso...more
I checked this book out from the library and after renewing it twice, I figured I ought to break down and buy it. And I did because, happily, it's out in paperback.

Readers, this book was/is NOT a waste of money. It's loaded with passion, veiled hot passages, steamy yearnings, wit, angst, lust/love and even a funny poem that made me laugh out loud. My copy is hilighted and dog-eared and indispensable.

Anthologies are the way to go. This one is like a ten course meal with the finest wine and dess...more
Kirsty (alkalinekiwi)
Picked this one sometime last year when one of the local bookstores was having a sale - picked up some decent books for $3 each.. score.

It took me a while to read through this, I'm not much of a poetry fan though I do enjoy them on occasion.
Some of the poems I enjoyed more than others - I will edit this review when I have my copy on hand to see the titles of my favourites.
It was interesting seeing the different interpretations of what one considers to be erotic.

I have someone in mind to send...more
A.j. Chilson
I say The Best American Erotic Poems: From 1800 to the Present is a wonderful collection of erotic poems. It's got a little bit from almost every significant poet of its time, with the obvious exception of Frost, Sandburg, and Ginsberg. I think the omission of the latter is a big hurt when it came to selecting the poets, many of whom may get its biggest readership from those reading this book. But overall, I say the book is a success. A must-read for all.
The intro to this book by the editor, David Lehman, was amazing. Highly recommended. And, while I loathe his decision to include more Emily Dickinson poems than those of any other author, and to include a strange one by Robert Frost that didn't strike me as "erotic" at all, beginning on page 25 this book became incredible and unable to be put down.
I enjoyed this collection and have little markers tabbed all around the edges to prove it. Although there are some typical erotic poems that you see in many other compilations, this one was surprisingly fun to read because the more well known poems were few and far between.
Was tempted to take a star away on account of the few poems here and there wherein the poet speaks of the opposite sex as "they" and bemoans the burdens put upon "us," but... Sexy is sexy, and making you forget almost anything is what it does best.
Some of the poems are delightful; others are cheesy. But overall, a nice collection.

Some favorites: E. Dickinson, A.Rich, A. Sexton, O.K. Davis
the best, best poems start midway through the 20th c.

my favorite:

Their Sex Life

one failure
on top of another

-a.r. ammons

Meryl Natchez
Anthologies are tough, but this one has some eclectic choices as well as old standbys. Worth a read.
These were ridiculous and gross too in parts. There was nothing even worth a 2 star rating!
It's a great idea for a book, but I only liked about four or five of the poems.
Dec 28, 2008 Tina marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
part of my resolution to read more poetry in 2009 - figure this is a good place to start!
Michelle Smitherman
only enjoyed a select few of the collected pieces. But as always loved Whitmans work.
The Shirt, by Jane Kenyon, made the entire book worth buying.
"Book praised for not being as bad as it could have been..."
Includes my sestina about interoffice lust - "The Temp."
Definitely a bedside table book. This anthology of erotic poetry from 1800 through 2005ish contains poems from many known American poets that range from tender and loving to titillatingly graphic.
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David Lehman is a poet and the series editor for The Best American Poetry series. He teaches at The New School in New York City.
More about David Lehman...
Great American Prose Poems: From Poe to the Present The Oxford Book of American Poetry The Last Avant-Garde: The Making of the New York School of Poets The Best American Poetry 2013 The Daily Mirror

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