February 2, 2016

In The Headlines: Newly Discovered Erotic Poems by TS Eliot

Have we stumbled upon Old Possum's Book of Practical Pussy?
Last year, The Guardian reported the release of new poetry by T.S. Eliot, including several erotic poems written for his second wife, Valerie.
T.S. Eliot ranks among the most famous 20th century poets and literary creators, and in 1948 won of the Nobel Prize in Literature. Known also for literary criticism, essay, and plays, it’s his poetry which makes him an almost household name even today.
Having been first introduced to Eliot’s poetry through his collection of children’s poems, Old Possum’s Book ofPractical Cats, it interested me very much to learn he’d also published erotic poems. While those verses previously released appeared to reflect an unhappy, even dysfunctional sex life many associate with a failed first marriage and several subsequent relationships, the newly-discovered poems written to Valerie seem to spring from a place of sweet—and sexy—romance.

This excerpt from one of the new poems offers a tone of intimacy and connection, while the title of the poem itself—How the Tall Girl and I Play Together—gives it a hint of playfulness. “Play” being a term often used for sexual scene in fetish circles, it also lends a serious note to the theme of the relationship. My sense—from just few these lines and the title, mind you—is that the poem reflects a sexual dynamic both loving and primally sensual. I’m intrigued, and want to read more.
It excites me to know this incredible poet delved into the realm of erotic verse, too. What say you? Have you read any of his poetry, and if so, was it part of his erotic collections? Does the voice in these lines speak to you? Do you think it’s accurate to assess a poet’s actual life and experience based on his poetry?

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