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Lust

October 13, 2014

Lust, a volume of poetry by Diana Raab, was sent to me by TLC book tours. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it seems to me that the depth and breadth and height of the volume reach nearly to the “ends of Being” as I have experienced them.unnamed

I expected to feel a little embarrassed, trying to talk about poems on lust, but I didn’t expect to feel so exposed in terms of the details. Reading some of the poems, I thought “oh, that’s how that works” and reading others I wondered, at first, what was going on. Some of them are about having different lovers and what it’s like to have sex with someone you don’t know well. Others are about what it’s like to make love with your partner in parenting, someone you’ve made love with for decades, a situation familiar to me after 32 years of marriage.

I like the way the poet shows bodies and minds working together at the end of the poem “Speak,” as she commands him to

“…Release yourself
into me and I shall clamp your essence shut.

Tell me you’ve given up so much
for me and I will tell you the same.
Twist your body around mine
like a snake enveloping its prey.

I am yours
and
there is no
other way to grasp this.”

This theme is continued in two other poems–in “Create,” with “our little secret of the person/we will become together” and in “The Wave” with “the bliss of your healing.” These three are my favorites in the volume.

In other poems, sexual need is spurred by a loving action, as in the double entendre of the title “Pick Up,” the move from a house full of “chaos” to a hotel room in “Going Nuts” or a lift of the skirt “as I stood over gas stoves/stirring simmering soups/rocking baby carriages in one hand/and spoon in another, hands tied.”

There are poems about being left, about how it feels to realize that “I was no longer the fantasy/of all your unmet dreams” and ways to cope “when your loved one clicks their heels/and decides to walk out the door/for some old fashioned sex/with a stranger yet to be met.”

There are a few explicit poems, like “Leashed” and “Protection,” but one of the best things about this volume, at least for me, is its generality, the way it includes the sexual in the everyday, something stomach-tighteningly wonderful to think about “while on the outside/you stand counting the minutes/for the hard-boiled eggs.”

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. October 13, 2014 12:39 pm

    These sound quite intriguing. I wrote an academic book on pornography several years ago and still bear the scars, so tend to approach self-consciously sexual material with tongs and a shield. But I do love your last sentence – now that’s something I’d be interested to read about.

    • October 14, 2014 12:04 pm

      Love the image–I didn’t think of approaching this with tongs and a shield, exactly, but it is interesting to try to talk about, write about, or conjure up emotions about sex in a public forum without going too far one way or the other–not saying enough to explain what you mean, or giving too much information. I thought this volume did a nice job of being suggestive without giving away all the secrets.

  2. October 13, 2014 2:16 pm

    I couldn’t help but laugh at your “oh, that’s how that works” 🙂 I like the excerpt you give and ” the sexual in the everyday” sounds intriguing.

    • October 14, 2014 12:07 pm

      Glad to hear you laughed. One of the things that’s intriguing about the volume is how many kinds of sexual encounters it describes–from the bitterness of thinking about a partner who deserted you having sex with someone else, to the tenderness of making love with someone you’ve loved for years.

  3. October 19, 2014 5:38 pm

    I’m not normally a fan of poetry but I am really intrigued by this collection. I’m glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for being a part of the tour!

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  1. Diana Raab, author of Lust, on tour September/October 2014 | TLC Book Tours

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