Spirituality and Eroticism: An Erotic Perspective

I’ve recently been looking into the history of spirituality and eroticism. Since the antiquity, there has always been some overlap and deep connection between the two great muses of human pursuits.

Spirituality and Eroticism

From my research, what I have found that either the religion has tried to suppress the eros or embraced it by transforming and expressing the eros by channeling the sexual energy into spiritual, selfless love to God or some ideal.

While I’ve been checking out ancient teachings and beliefs, biblical verses, songs and poetry, all with the theme of eroticism and spirituality in mind.

I can honestly say that I’ve literally been blown away and swept off my usually grounded feet by the jaw-dropping beauty, frank honesty and unguarded language used by mystics, poets or pagan priests advocating their love for spiritual and mystical figures.

The strength of their ecstatic devotion never fails to shine through, even within their sometimes sexually charged diction. In fact, if I was of religious persuasion, you could probably say that through what I’ve learned, even in a short time frame, I’ve literally been taken to the church (or temple) and back.

It was no less than a sacred pilgrimage through time and cultures.

Let’s look at some of these overlaps where the erotic meets the spirit.

Saint Teresa of Avila

Since I’ve just mentioned church this is as good a time as any for Spanish mystic and nun, Saint Teresa of Avila (who was canonized by the Catholic church during the 1600’s) to share with us her heartfelt and intimate feelings towards God.

Saint Teresa is said to have experienced devotions of ecstasy which was one of perfect union with God. Her devoutness could not be more apparent than in her poem, I Would Cease to Be:

God
Dissolved
my mind, my separation
I cannot describe now my intimacy with Him
How dependent is your body’s life on water and food and air
I said to God, I will always be unless you cease to Be,
And my Beloved replied,
And I would cease to Be
if you died

You get a real sense of her intensity and passion from the words used here. Whenever I read it I get the feeling that it could almost be a poem written to a lover.

Saint Francis of Assisi

Such displays of beautiful outpourings towards religious and spiritual figures by their devotees have been thematic throughout the centuries. The poem (a prayer as hymn actually): Dear God by lifelong devout Christian, Saint Francis of Assissi also shows the true extent of his feelings:

Dear God, please reveal to us
your sublime
beauty
that is everywhere, everywhere, everywhere,
so that we will never again
feel frightened.
My divine love, my love,
please let us touch
your face.

 

I love the line please let us touch your face, it’s exactly the kind of thing a person would long to do from the moment he/she begins to fall in love with someone. Saint Francis was canonized as a saint during 1228.

Mirabai

Sixteenth-century Indian mystic, Mirabai, is another plenary example of devotion in its purest form. She became a lifelong follower of Sri Krishna whom she thought of as her husband.

So passionate was her devotion, Mirabi inspired many others to take the same devotional path.

Even well-known sadhus (Hindu word for ascetic holy men) came to her for divine influence. Her life’s sacrifice to Krishna really shines through in this poem:

 

The Saffron

The saffron of virtue and contentment
Is dissolved in the water-gun of love and affection.
Pink and red clouds of emotion are flying about,
Limitless colors raining down.
All the covers of the earthen vessel of my body are wide open;
I have thrown away all shame before the world.
Mira’s Lord is the Mountain-Holder, the suave lover.
I sacrifice myself in devotion to His lotus feet.

 

A lot of Mirabai’s poems were written to be sung as bhajans (religious songs of praise) and many of them are still sung in India today.

Song of Songs

I am going to return to the theme of Christianity for now as we take another journey back to one of the religion’s most well-known holy scriptures, the Song of Songs (or Song of Solomon).

It’s from the Judaic Old Testament and it’s frank and animated details of the physical love between two people definitely makes it unique to the books of the Bible, especially when you consider that it’s said to have been written between 971 and 965 BC.

“Let my lover come into his garden
and taste its delicious fruits.”
– Song of Solomon 4:16
 

There are a great many different versions, translations and interpretations around of this book, e.g. King James version, Hebrew translation or the more recent International version.

I’ve included just a small snippet of the more modern International version below, but it can be found here in its entirety.

 

Song of Songs

While the king was at his table,
my perfume spread its fragrance.

My beloved is to me a sachet of myrrh
resting between my breasts.
 My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms
from the vineyards of En Gedi.

– Song of Solomon 1:12-14

 

Do try and take in the whole thing if you haven’t already, I think the Song of Songs is a fantastic expression of the power of love and the physical attraction it brings, which definitely makes it stand out more than other books of the Old Testament.

Sumerian Mythology: The Song of Inanna and Dumuzi

This is said to be one of the oldest love poems from the ancient world. Recently translated, the words for The Song of Inanna and Dumuzi are said to have been found on stone tablets in the ruins of Nippur, one of the ancient cities of Babylon.

In this myth, a high priestess acting on behalf of the goddess of the land has sex with the ruler of the country to show the goddess’s acceptance to him as guardian of her people.

This ritual is said to bring prosperity to the goddess’s people (who would watch the whole of this sacred act taking place).

 

With verses that include phrases like:

He shaped my loins with his fair hands, and,

Who will plough my wet ground?

 

This poem is far more explicitly upfront than most in this blog. However, because the translations by Diane Wolkstein and Samuel Noah Kramer are quite recent, I don’t think I can include an excerpt in this blog for copyright reasons; but along with more information about Sumerian mythology, the poem can be found in its entirety here.

The Sumerians, like the ancient Greeks and Romans worshipped many gods. Their religious practices at times obviously included some sexual behavior.

We’ve probably all noticed the consistent use of erotic imagery when looking at history books on ancient times e.g. the representation of male Greek Gods often being that of naked well-endowed males.

It’s hugely apparent that back then, sexual attitudes and behavior, unlike today, didn’t seem to encourage any shameful undertones whatsoever.

When you consider that for two hundred years after Rome’s state religion became Christianity, long term gay unions including marriage were still in existence, it’s so apparent that during this era there were few restrictions imposed on sexuality before later teachings and opinions changed things.

The Virtues of Chastity

It was around 50AD that chastity became a virtue after Saint Paul advocated that the highest love was God and that chastity was the best expression of one’s holiness.

He was of the opinion that if the commitment to chastity could not be sustained then marital sex would then be the next option.

This, to me, basically suggests that Saint Paul felt that sex was sinful and that chastity was actually a clear expression of one’s religiosity.

Jesus

I am not sure that Jesus even held this same belief as Saint Paul. Although there isn’t a huge deal of stuff documented about Jesus’ attitudes towards sexual behavior. He did preach that men and women should be treated the same when it came to adultery and divorce.

When Jesus came across a woman who had committed adultery, he did not condemn (The Hebrew bible authorized stoning for this act). Instead, he uttered one of his famous phrases:

“Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” – John 8:7

Thomas Aquinas

During the 12th century Philosopher and Theologian, Thomas Aquinas’ impact on sexuality and sexual practices was so phenomenal it even still asserts its influence over the Catholic church today (not bad for a guy who died around eight hundred years ago!)

He was of the belief that sexual organs were merely a vehicle for procreation, any other uses were deemed unnatural or immoral, especially when it came to homosexuality.

His opinion laid the foundation for Christian attitudes that would continue for centuries. Aquinas’ poem to God “Could you Embrace that” can be found here.

Osho

Have a look at the quote below which was made by modern-day spiritual leader and Indian mystic Rajneesh (Osho).

 

So always remember, whatsoever I say to you, you can take it in two ways. You can simply take it on my authority, Because I say so, it must be true — then you will suffer, then you will not grow.

 

I love this quote because it immediately encourages the growth of the mind. During his time on Earth (between 1931 – 1990), Osho gave nurturing talks on all manner of subjects, ranging from meditation, enlightenment, religion, and self-exploration.

He was also a follower of Tantra which he describes as the science of transforming ordinary lovers into soul mates.

Rather than seeing sex as a sinful act, Osho believed it to be sacred and joyful. This is a snippet from one of his discourses From Sex to Superconsciousness.

 

Only in the moments of coitus did man realize that it was possible to feel such profound love, to experience such illuminating bliss. And those who meditated on this truth in the right frame of mind, those who meditated on the phenomenon of sex, of intercourse, came to the conclusion that in the moments of climax the mind becomes empty of thoughts. All thoughts drain out at that moment. And this emptiness of mind, this void, this vacuum, this freezing of the mind, is the cause of the shower of divine joy.

If you want to know the elemental truth about love, the first requisite is to accept the sacredness of sex, to accept the divinity of sex in the same way you accept God’s existence with an open heart. And the more fully you accept sex with an open heart and mind, the freer you will be of it. But the more you suppress it the more you will become bound to it.

You can read more of this discourse here.

 

John Donne

I am going to round things up now with something I haven’t heard about very often an erotic poem written by a priest. This one was created during the 16th century by Anglican priest, John Donne. It’s called:

 

To His Mistress Going to Bed

Unpin that spangled breastplate which you wear,
That th’eyes of busy fools may be stopped there.
Unlace yourself, for that harmonious chime
Tells me from you that now it is bed time.
Off with that happy busk, which I envy,
That still can be, and still can stand so nigh.
Your gown going off, such beauteous state reveals,
As when from flowery meads th’hills shadow steals.
 
Those set our hairs, but these our flesh upright.
License my roving hands, and let them go
Before, behind, between, above, below.
O my America! my new-found-land,
My kingdom, safeliest when with one man manned,
My mine of precious stones, my empery,
How blest am I in this discovering thee!
To enter in these bonds is to be free;
Then where my hand is set, my seal shall be.
Full nakedness! All joys are due to thee
 

To read the complete poem, please visit here. John Donne’s poems were first published posthumously in 1633 and 1635.

Read another one of John Donne’s poem: The Ecstasy by John Donne

The End

Thanks very much for looking at my blog, please let me know if you enjoyed reading it.

 

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What do you think about the Eros and Religion? Do you also feel they connect deeply and that they are basically the same powerful force? I am sure there are other aspects or connections that I have missed. Please leave your thoughts and input in the Comments below.

Interconnectedness of Music, Poetry, Literature, and Other Arts

“I love to write poetry, I love to sing,” chirped American poet and singer, Jill Scott, by way of introduction on her debut album at the turn of the millennium.

A few tunes in, I could tell she meant business.

Interconnectedness of Music and Poetry

The fusion of music and poetry on her track Exclusively is a prime example of how musical subtleties can illuminate and enhance the spoken word.

As Scott tells her story – sharing intimate details of a sexily charged morning spent with a lover the sultry syllables which unfurl from her tongue and sweetly tumble from her mouth are in total harmony with the melodic, soulful and rhythmic sounds.

She grips the listener with her Philly twang, its beat pattern subtly changing every so often, until suddenly her voice tone hugely alters; as does the music.

This abrupt shift brings us to the end of her tale. The story teller’s sentiments have changed and we, the listeners, feel her first unsatisfactory climax of the day as much as she does. Pure poetry.

Jill Scott – Exclusively (Watch here on the YouTube)

Linking the Mediums of Music and Poetry

Linking the mediums of music and poetry is nothing new, the relationship is a close one with the two having inter-connected on so many levels throughout history. For centuries now performers, lyricists, and musicians have done much to cement this relationship, often producing outstanding results for our listening pleasure.

The poem Break, Break, Break by eighteenth-century British born poet, Alfred Lord Tennyson is a good example.

Music in Poetry (without instruments)

Creating music within a poem can be a difficult task to begin with, but by using carefully constructed verses, writers of poetry for the page can bring rhythm to their work, so long as they’re prepared to put the hours in.

Being cunningly creative with rhyme patterns, pace and line breaks, or by using alliteration and onomatopoeia are just a few of the ways in which rhythmic beats can be created within prose to give it life.

Being brave enough to play around with language and punctuation can also add a lot of flavor to beat patterns: emphasis using capitalization or an exclamation after successive well-crafted syllables on a page, can make all the difference to the flow and pattern of the piece for the reader and, if the writer is lucky, result in the creation of rhythm patterns, rhymes and melodies without a single semibreve, quaver or crotchet being included in the equation.

Writer and cartoonist Dr. Seuss is a fun example of someone who got this right.

Spoken Word Artists

Spoken word artists too have long been blessing us with musicality in their work. The skills in creating musical elements in their work lie, not only in the writing but in their powerful oral execution and melodic flow. Spoken word poets have the advantage of complementing their written work using anything from acting or comedic methods to creating an alter ego.

Merely reading from the page in monotone fashion is not an option in terms of creating a rhythm for a live audience. 

To be successful and engaging in this field a few things a poet may need to adopt in his or her work are: repetition, chanting, alliteration or beatboxing.

Rapping, pregnant pauses, tempo changes, and even audience participation are all pretty popular too.

After all, a room full of people clapping or chanting in harmony with you as a performer is a fantastic way to bring out the beats and control the melodies, again without relying on a single musician or instrument.

Contemporary performer Saul Williams manages to use several of these methods in his poem Ohm (watch on Youtube).

Poets and Musicians

Whether you look at some of today’s artists or go back a few decades, popular performers both past and present have had strong associations with poetry and music: Jim Morrison, Dylan Thomas, Maya Angelou, and Bob Dylan are just a handful.

Jim Morrison

Jim Morrison published several books of poetry during his short lifetime. But until the album An American Prayer was put together and released several years after his death, he was probably better known as The Doors’ hell-raising frontman.

The LP comprises Morrison’s poetic narrative over music composed by surviving members of The Doors. Genius in parts it keeps the listener captivated and awakens the imagination at the start. The poem Awake blends beautifully with the music’s trance-inducing chimes and 70’s guitar.

Although the sometimes too-upbeat melodies don’t always blend so well with the dark lyrics in subsequent tracks, Morrison’s talent for poetry writing still manages to shine through on this album, despite the lack of harmony between the music and poetry.

Dylan Thomas

The poet Dylan Thomas is no doubt Wales’ most famous literary export his gift of bringing music, bounce, and melody to his work makes it charming to read.

He was a popular performer in the USA during the 1950’s but like Jim Morrison, Thomas went on to become a heavy drinker; he too, by all accounts, also had his fair share of hell-raising moments.

Decades after Thomas’ death in New York, several of his poems were given a new lease of life to mark his centenary in 2014.

Welsh musician Cerys Matthews recorded several of Thomas’s poems and set them to music. A Child’s Christmas, Poems and Tiger Eggs is the magical result the combination of music, spoken word and song is a harmonious and beautiful marriage which works amazingly well.

Lovers of Thomas’ work, as well as voyeurs, may well find some gems that raise a smile or two in this modern collection. Hippos is just one of a number of tracks that stands out in this awesome collection.

Maya Angelou

In a blog about poetry and music, it would be wrong not to mention America’s First Lady of Poetry, the late Maya Angelou.

If there is one poet on this planet whose lyrics have been regularly linked with musicians, it’s Angelou. Such an inspirational figure to many, her poem I know why the Caged Bird Sings’ has been hugely influential for several artists over the years including Alicia keys, who recorded: Caged Bird for one of her albums at the turn of the millennium.

Angelou herself actually featured on hip-hop artist Common’s track Dreamer in 2011. Even singer and actor Olivia Newton-John has been inspired by Angelou. In 2005 she recorded a charity song called Phenomenal Woman, based on Angelou’s poem of the same name.

With her work holding such influence over the music and literary worlds, America is set to feel Angelou’s lyrical presence for years if not decades to come.

Poem or Song?

Can song lyrics stand out more as a poem than as a song? This isn’t a question that comes up very often, but it’s one worth asking. Take a look at the lyrics from the song Forever Young.

Now click on this youtube link to watch the song being sung by its writer.

Those of you who believed that song lyrics can never double up as poetry, maybe these lines illustrate that there might be times when songs do probably stand out more as poems than as songs.

Or may at least sit comfortably across both mediums. What do you think? I am interested to know your thoughts. Comment below.

 

Music to Complement your Reading of “Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems”

Once you’ve finally got your hands on a copy, you may want to try the music-poetry combination.

Naked Soul Audiobook

Also, the one audiobook version of Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems will be similar to Jose Nunez’s famous (Bilingual ft Taina).

The audiobook production is currently work-in-progress. If you think you can help, please contact me.

When you need some music or spoken word to add to your reading experience, take a look at our top five sensual tunes to enhance your reading experience. Let me know what you think in the Comments section below.

 

Britney Spears’ Breath on me

Seductive, soft and sultry!

 

Birken / Gainsbourg / J’taime

Singing, spoken word, lustful lyrics and ecstatic groaning all feature on this notorious classic from the late 1960’s.

 

Gustav Mahler’s Adagietto from Symphony no. 5

Classical track which takes the listener on a dynamic journey within a huge range of crescendos and diminuendos (increases and decreases in loudness).

 

Air – La Femme d’Argent

Instrumental with cool piano and sexy synthesizer sounds and samples.

 

Lil Louie French Kiss

Fast paced and pounding mainly instrumental track containing a few seductive spoken words. It speeds up and slows down at just the right moments.

 

Enjoy!

 

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Did you know about the free VIP pass offer to the Naked Soul Club? Subscribe your email now and join and be part of this tight-knit community of lovers, readers, writers, adventures and other people just like yourself. I send great contents directly into your mailbox. Sign up now and stay in touch!

What do you think about the relationship between Music and Poetry? I am sure there are other aspects or connections that I have missed. Please leave your thoughts and input in the Comments below.

Understanding A Book’s Copyright Page: What Does It Tell Specifically

Cast your mind back, way back to those archaic pre-internet times — long before sharing and liking were everyday actions synonymous with the online world; when tweeting was just something birds did and when copyright protection, although still a tricky business, was far less open to abuse than it is these days.

Copyright Page Demystified

History dictates that the enforcement of copyright protection has never been straightforward, but the very existence of the World Wide Web and the phenomenal explosion of the many social media networks attached to it, has altered the way we live both creating then fuelling our compulsions to instantaneously download, distribute, or copy and share all manner of things online; often with blurred vision when it comes to any legalities.

Don’t get me wrong in some ways it can be a great complement for artists if audiences like their work enough to want to copy and share (with their friends and followers) material such as poetry, song lyrics or even lustful lines from the latest raunchy novels hitting the bookshelves; but the bottom line is, that nowadays from the moment an author has created a piece of written work, copyright protection is in existence from then on.

And unless the work’s creator has given permission for others to copy and share it, scan it, add to it etc. the only thing that others should be doing with it (if it’s a book or article, for example) is reading it.

So, with copyright in mind, I’ve decided to devote this blog, to showing (probably the least looked at the page in a book) some much-needed love. I’m talking about the Copyright Page.

We’re going to take a detailed journey through each section of a book’s copyright page, looking thoroughly at what each part means.

Essentially we’re going to learn: how to decode a book’s copyright page. But right now, I think it’s probably useful to start with a reminder for anyone who’s forgotten, what copyright protection actually is.

What is Copyright Protection?

Copyright protection exists by law to protect the rights of authors of original work. The protection commences from the moment the work is created and fixed in a tangible form.

What is a Copyright Page?

So what is a Copyright page and what does it really contain? The copyright page commonly appears at the start of the book after the title page.

The information one copyright page carries can differ greatly to another depending on the subject matter and the type of book, but the copyright page usually contains the following things:

1) Information about the copyright owner

Information about the copyright owner could look like this:

Copyright © 2014 by Salil Jha
All rights reserved.

This means that the Copyright Owner (me, in this example) has sole ownership of the rights in terms of altering it, displaying it, and reproducing it.

It’s worth noting that nowadays there is no formal requirement to mark your copyrighted work with a © or with the word copyright the copyright protection still exists without it.

Some copyright notices include a lot more detail than the phrase All rights reserved. Just so readers are really clear on what they can and can’t do with a publication, it’s common for books to state things like:

This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise be lent, resold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published, etc. etc.

2) A Thank You notice

A thank you note could look like this:

Thank you for buying an authorized edition of this book and for complying with copyright laws by not reproducing, scanning, or distributing any part of it in any form without permission.


A thank you notice is frequently displayed on a copyright page, itâ€s a polite way of reminding users that they should comply with copyright laws when using the product.

3) ISBN Numbers

ISBN 13: 9780692265291

ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. Each 13 digit ISBN number uniquely identifies the book edition and therefore holds great importance to libraries, booksellers, marketing companies, distributors and anyone wanting a book to become commercially available.

Prior to January 2007, ISBN numbers were 10 digits long, but around that time the ISBN system was reviewed and they are now 13 digits long.

Worldwide, there are actually over 150 agencies which allocate ISBN numbers, but it really doesn’t matter where on the planet the ISBN number has been assigned, the beauty is, they’re an internationally recognizable way of identifying books and book-related products.

Some books contain more than one ISBN number as in the case of the above example from Naked Soul: Erotic Love Poems.

Export editions require a separate ISBN number, as do different formats such as hardback, Kindle and paperback. Several ISBN’s can be purchased in one block from www.bowker.com

4)  Library of Congress Control Number

Library of Congress Control Number: 201491378

Although the name makes it sound pretty official, the Library of Congress Control Number is just a unique bibliographic record of a forthcoming publication.

These assigned records help inform the library community of new publications through weekly distribution lists. Library of Congress Control numbers are free and can be obtained by sending a copy of the book to the relevant cataloging department of the Library of Congress in advance of a book’s publication dates, thus facilitating acquisitions and gaining entry to one of the biggest book collections in the USA.

5) Edition Information

First Edition: December 2014

Wording like this is pretty standard on a book’s copyright page and it’s self-explanatory, informing us what edition it is and when it was first published.

6) Name and location of the publisher

Large publishing houses often have a lot of info in this section. This could include several different global addresses of the publishing company, the companyâ€s website address and its registration number, but in the case of my self-published collection, these are the pretty succinct details:

Naked Soul Press
Quincy, MA 

Other things which a title page may include:

7) Disclaimers

Disclaimers vary from book to book depending on the book type. A fiction novel’s disclaimer may read:

“This is a work of fiction, names and characters are the product of the author’s imagination and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, is purely coincidental.”

Whereas a health or complementary therapy type book may state: This book is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Readers should seek medical advice in matters relating to his / her health.

8) Credits for contributors

Individuals or companies who’ve contributed to the book’s content may be listed. Such as photographers, editors or designers.

e.g. Cover illustration copyright © 2014 by Salil S. Jha.

 

Or, 

Poetry of Salil S. Jha, used by kind permission of Naked Soul Press.

9) Environmental information about products used in the book’s making

More and more over the years, I’ve seen environmental statements on the title page of books made by publishers who support organizations such as the Forest Stewardship Council ®, they often carry the organization’s trademark and have their books printed on the eco-friendly paper of that particular organization.

10) Typesetter details and printing company information

Details of the typesetting company as well as the font types and size used in the book are pretty common, as is providing details of the printing company used by the publisher.

e.g Typset by S Jha Graphics, Boston MA and

 

Printed and bound by S Jha Compositions, Boston MA

11) Translation information

e.g. This translation first published in 2013.

 

Translation Copyright © Salil Jha

I’m hoping that I’ve provided some interesting and useful information on this subject for you guys. If you’ve found at least some of my copyright page decoding useful, feel free to drop me a line and let me know.

I’m going to finish up by mentioning that copyright (although it lasts a long time) does not last forever. It eventually expires, and when this happens, the once protected work ends up in the public domain.

Public Domain Explained

If a work is referred to as being in the public domain, it means it’s now available for use without asking the copyright owners permission. William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens are just two of the many authors whose works are now in the public domain due to copyright expiration.

Any works published prior to 1923 will now be in the public domain. Works published after 1923 but before 1978 are protected 95 years from the date of publication.

For me, this is where things start to get pretty confusing because if the work was created without a copyright notice between 1923 and 1977, it has no copyright protection and has ended up in the public domain as the creator failed to comply with the required formalities at that time.

(Copyright notices are no longer a requirement for authors to be protected but it’s still useful to use them).

If work was created but not published before 1978, the copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years.

And as I understand it, works published after 1977, the copyright also lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years.

Are you with me so far? Congratulations if you are because even Iâ€m finding this difficult to get my head around!

Finally, if a work’s creator didn’t properly renew the copyright on work published between 1923 – 1963, then the work will be in the public domain.

You might want to search the records of the US Copyright Office’s website for more info.

Try out the Copy Right or Copy Wrong quick quiz

We’re going to round things up with a quick quiz, just to see if you’ve been paying attention. There are a few statements listed below, read through them and decide whether the statement is right or wrong, it’s that simple:

  • If a publisher decides to sell books without placing them in bookshops or libraries, an ISBN is required. Is this right or wrong?
  • For your work to be copyright protected, a copyright notice should be included on your copyright page. Is this right or wrong?
  • Work published before 1923 remains copyrighted if author renewed the copyright properly. Is this right or wrong?
  • A new ISBN number must be allocated for different formats of the book e.g Hardback, paperback and Kindle. Is this right or wrong?

Answers

  • Wrong – No ISBN number is required in this case
  • Wrong – This was true once upon a time but itâ€s not a requirement these days
  • Wrong – The work is now in the public domain as copyright has expired
  • Right – This is correct, new ISBNâ€s are required for the different formats

 

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Did you know about the free VIP pass offer to the Naked Soul Club? Subscribe your email now and join and be part of this tight-knit community of lovers, readers, writers, adventures and other people just like yourself. I send great contents directly into your mailbox. Sign up now and stay in touch!

What do you think about the Copyright page article? I am sure there are things that I have missed. Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

Broken Boundaries: 5 Most Striking Erotic Poems of All Times

Erotic Poems by Charles Bukowski, W. H. Auden, Mutsuo Takahashi, Federico Garcia Lorca, and Emily Dickenson.

From The Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems

Erotic literature has been for a long time a rather controversial and fascinating genre that transgresses boundaries in many respects.

It is by no means new, but it was valued in its own right in antiquity (Sappho’s works or the Kama Sutra are only two examples among the most famous ones).

However given certain restrictions imposed in other historical periods such as the Middle Ages, the Victorian era, and even during times which are closer to the 21st century, erotic literature can still be considered a genre that challenges convention.

Only in our decades can we see more openness towards a new kind of exploration of the erotic.

It is enough to think of work such as Fifty Shades of Grey and its success and you can easily understand why and how the erotic has become a new focus for the literature-loving masses as well as for the critics.

Most Striking Erotic Poems

Erotic poetry is particularly intriguing because this genre has often demanded a higher degree of lyricism through an expression of subjectivity and quite often “complex feelings.”

How do these qualities mesh with the erotic? Is the erotic pure physicality? Does it imply the depiction of mere sensation or it also plays on emotionality and abstraction? What does the aesthetic of the erotic look like?

It is essential to understand that there’s more to erotic poetry than corporeality or sexuality.

The way this interesting and not at all simple genre manifests itself differs, of course, from one historical time to another and even from one country to another, depending on several particularities of the artistic trends that were influential at one point and on preferred kinds of sensitivity/ imaginary in a given cultural space.

Which are the most striking erotic poems of all time? What is extraordinary about them? Does it only depend on the horizon of expectations of a certain era and public? It’s self-understood that many erotic poems written by contemporary authors would have shocked people in the 17th or 18th century.

However, our intention is showing a few remarkable erotic poems in their full historical and artistic context.

For starters, what did erotic poetry look like in the 18th century? It was, of course, much more veiled and metaphoric than nowadays.

Some poets were however more provocative and even cultivated a form of aesthetic perversion (Charles Algernon Swinburne, for instance) while approaching more delicate topics and employing abundant imagery of sensuality.

One relevant example is the eroticization of a religious female figure, for instance.

The erotic was visible in the intent of challenging boundaries (e.g. a Madonna vs. whore binary) and not necessarily in the depiction of overt sexuality.

Others poets preferred a more concealed style. Eroticism was thus often approached under the guise of more “elevated and socially appropriate feelings such as love, admiration, fascination, etc.

Let’s go through a few outstanding erotic poems that qualify as the most striking of all times.

Come Slowly, Eden! by Emily Dickenson

This short poem is primarily memorable through its intense and pregnant metaphor or female orgasm. There may have been more daring poems written in the 19th century.

However, what is extremely special about this poem comes down to the fact that it was written by a female author who was actually never married.

Emily Dickenson’s life centered on her closeness to her family, on forms of seclusion as well as on a few ambiguous relationships that were probably never consummated. Scholars have investigated the poet’s sexuality and concluded she may have actually had a homoerotic orientation (given her intense friendship and correspondence with Susan Gilbert Dickenson, her sister-in-law).

What makes this poem so interesting? Well, it’s precisely the enigmatic and ambiguous gender imprint and sexual orientations it implies.

The poem consists of two stanzas only and it is constructed along the fertile and powerful metaphor of a bee that circles a flower and ultimately sips its nectars. The amazing imagery depicts the bee as a “he” while the flower is feminized.

What is absolutely fascinating about this short poem is the way in which conventional gender roles mingle and blur: the bee that should be the predator and sip the nectars from the alluring, but passive flower actually ends up being a fainting victim, since he is lost in balms.

Orgasm is thus described as a sensation of Eden for both parties. The flower is deeply sexualized through the image of the chambers (instead of petals), while the bee is metonymically represented through the image of the lips, thus further intensifying the complex sexual connotations of the poem:

 

Come slowly Eden
Lips unused to thee-
Bashful sip thy jasmines-
As the fainting bee.

 

The eroticism in this poem is heightened through powerful olfactory and gustative images: jasmines, balm, nectars, etc.

Evidently, the sexual act is veiled through the description of a common phenomenon in the natural world whose beauty could potentially be admired as such without any erotic connotations.

The apparent candor suggested by this poem is telling of the way an erotic poem could be written in an era that did not allow too much freedom of sexual expression.

Intensely figurative, Emily Dickenson’s erotic poem remains among the most striking, especially in the context of the whole mystery surrounding the poet’s own sexual orientation and activity.

Gacela of Love Unforeseen by Federico Garcia Lorca

In the first half of the 20th century, the erotic was already not as taboo as before. Modernist poets experimented tremendously while still retaining a love for highly metaphoric representation or dream-like scenes.

Federico Garcia Lorca is a significant Spanish poet who gained international recognition through the force and the complexity of his imagery. Aesthetic elements that were employed by artists all over the world during that time harmoniously combine with traces of Spanish folklore in Lorca’s poetry.

Similarly the emphasis on subjectivity and imagination one can generally find in modernism gains additional nuances through the passionate and emphatic style that is so appreciated in the Spanish culture.

Lorca has written a lot of erotic poetry, but this particular poem is remarkable through its almost tragic tonality. Can the erotic be tragic?

Strange as it may seem, in Lorca’s poetry eroticism is intensified through anguish or the feeling of loss and death.

The poem starts with a definite impression of the bond (and binding) between a man and the woman he speaks about while also addressing the poem to.

In the man’s words, nobody can understand the secrets of the woman’s body as well as he could. The female body is described through expressive images of bloom and scent which obviously symbolize sexuality and attraction:

Nobody understood the perfume/ Of the dark magnolia of your belly.

Lorca’s poem is striking not so much through its sexual images (which are not exactly shocking for the time when the poem was written).

What singles it out among many other erotic poems is the contrast between absolute surrender and immersion in sexuality and the atmosphere of loss and ceaseless suffering.

Sensorial images are rich and allusive, as the woman’s visceral being is compared to Magnolia and her gaze appears to be between plaster and jasmine, resembling a pale and seeding branch.

Interestingly the natural imagery suggesting compelling scent and color are accompanied by allusions of extreme heat so as to convey intense eroticism:

while I for four nights laced myself/ to your waist, the enemy of snow.

The allusion of the transgression of time boundaries through intense love and sexuality is however crushed in the end, because what seems to last forever is not the connection between the two lovers, as one would expect, but the man’s painful lust.

The woman is now called the garden of my agony instead of being only a source of joy and pleasure. Hardly can one find something more impressive and memorable in the context of erotic poetry than the last stanza of Lorca’s poem:

 

forever, forever: Garden of my agony,
your body fleeing from me forever,
the blood of your veins now in my mouth,
your mouth already listless for my death.

 

The ending of Lorca’s poem can be interpreted as a hint that the erotic is only fulfilled in the man’s imagination and death accompanies a dream destroyed. At the same time, we can read it as a confession of an agony that followed the loss of love: the man’s never-ending pain can thus be one that derives from tormenting memories of physical love.

The ending of this poem is quite open as if what actually matters is the acute feeling of death that accompanies the erotic; other meanings are rather fluid.

There is also a suggestion of a strong consciousness of time passage that turns the erotic into an intense, but tragic experience. Aware of implacable death, the man is haunted by cruel images of perdition both in a physical and spiritual sense. The concreteness of pain and the overall feeling of hopelessness are remarkable in a poem whose content is primarily erotic.

It is not accidental that the mouth loses its erotic connotations in the ending of the poem as death seems to cover everything. What was once an uttermost immersion in the other’s body seems now a shockingly concrete image of death (e.g. the woman’s blood in the man’s mouth).

The contrast between pure physicality and a just as unambiguous and concrete loss (and potentially even decay) distinguishes this poem among others in the genre.

The Shower by Charles Bukowski

How can we discuss erotic poetry without mentioning Charles Bukowski? One of the most famous and provocative American poets in this respect, Bukowski has written considerably in the direction of erotic literature.

Unlike other authors, he turned the erotic into one of his major themes and he often used violent and shocking imagery.

In his case, the power of the erotic comes down to an explicit and incredibly concrete style rather than to metaphor and lyrical refinement.

Bukowski is also renowned for bringing “common people living on the fringes of society into literary focus without distorting their images or trying to embellish them in order to fit convention.

For the first decades of the latter half of the 20th century that was a notable achievement! Bukowski was a major challenger of aesthetic tradition who aimed at redefining the parameters of poetry rather than assimilating tradition. He also performed masterfully in his approach to the erotic.

What is particular about Bukowski’s erotic poetry? The right answer probably comes down to a strange, but a very genuine blend of pure sensation and deeper emotionality such as melancholy, sadness, yearning, etc.

Given the rawness of his erotic imagery, one would except a more frivolous kind of subjectivity when first approaching his poems.

However, this couldn’t be farther from the real substance and effect of Bukowski’s erotic poetry.

The Shower is remarkable through its depiction of post-coital communication between two lovers. It is striking because it doesn’t represent an actual sexual act nevertheless it is extraordinarily erotic.

The poem introduces the shower as a habitual practice between two lovers. What is strange is that gradually the reader has a strong impression of uniqueness, since this intimate act is described as something the man and the woman enjoy as if it weren’t recurrent, let alone boring or monotonous.

The shower thus becomes a mere continuation of the sexual act the two have just disengaged from. Showering together afterward only shows them how powerful the chemistry between them still is and impels them to fully eroticize the new act.

The poem is quite shocking through its language, as there are absolutely no reservations about the explicit depiction (and naming) of the genitalia.

Bukowski intends to use everyday language regardless of what people may consider being slang.

There is absolutely no disguise; every part of the male or female body, no matter how intimate, is named and depicted in full detail as the poem alludes to the (new) erection that will likely culminate in yet another sexual act even though this remains unsaid and the two lovers are further presented as they get dressed:

 

I grin grin grin, and then I wash her. . . first the ****,
I stand behind her, my cock in the cheeks of her **** 
I linger perhaps longer than necessary,
then I get the backs of the legs, the ****,
the back, the neck, I turn her, kiss her,
soap up the breasts, get them and the belly, the neck,
the fronts of the legs, the ankles, the feet,
 and then the ****, once more, for luck. . .
another kiss, and she gets out first,
toweling, sometimes singing while I stay in
turn the water on hotter

 

Bukowski’s poem doesn’t limit itself to what one may call concrete cynical eroticism. It also includes some sarcastic gender commentary, since it makes it clear that naming the male genitalia while censoring the female ones is not at all accidental.

The poem thus humorously and ingeniously mocks at the social convention and gender discrimination reflected in what may be considered to be acceptable language.

The irony is extremely charming since sexuality and the body is described in their full organic nature. Physiology takes over figurative language as the poem builds on the purity of raw sensations and chemistry.

The poem surprises the reader in an interesting way: it doesn’t end through a climatic depiction of a sexual act, but rather in a melancholy tone. The unexpected ending is one in which the erotic is endowed with slightly metaphysical/religious nuances.

Only by means of such an abysmal experience can the man’s memories of pain or defeat be appeased.

The erotic is thus acknowledged as a force that helps people overcome negative life experiences and even transcend the mundane.

This poem is unique through the way it combines concrete sexuality with a deeper feeling of sadness and loneliness that would linger in the man’s psychic space unless he had the chance of reveling in such apparently banal moments.

Sleeping Wrestler by Mutsuo Takahashi

A famous contemporary Japanese poet, Takahashi has written mainly homoerotic poetry whose style ranges from explicit eroticism to more psychological content.

Sleeping Wrestler sounds like an aesthetic gem even when you totally disregard the fact that it concentrates on homosexual love. This can be considered to be a rare talent of the poet since homo-eroticism was still a delicate issue in the 20th century.

The poet manages to eliminate any impression of potential discomfort or clumsiness in the expression of homosexual love and lust.

This particular poem simply describes a genuine and deep emotional connection between two men in a rather unique way: the poem can also look like some sort of gay manifesto since apparently only one of the two men is completely aware of the actual attraction between them.

The whole poem thus sounds like a plea for the acknowledgment of homoerotic orientation addressed to the object of the speaker’s attention and affection. Of course, the poem can be interpreted as a man’s attempt to show the other how he represses attraction because of gender pressure and socially constructed impediments.

Repression is described as sleep, struggle, and murder. Giving in to social norms regarding sexuality and fighting to bury his attraction to another man deep inside his psyche, the sleeping wrestler is actually also a murderer, since he destroys sincere interpersonal connection and love.

The atmosphere of the poem is intense and the voice of the man seems both dreamlike and terribly real. The poem builds on the paradoxical blend of a sense of fragility (perhaps strange for the usual images of homosexual love ingrained in the consciousness of the public) and struggle.

Eroticism is represented as a struggle not only in the sense of repression of sexual orientation but also as far as the sexual act is concerned.

Images of wrestling and fight, verbal constructions such as you nail me down, metaphors like a pillar of tendons or the ring of your entangled body and the insertion of the famous figure of the toreador Escamillo (from Bizet’s Carmen) are all very powerful in the representation of homoerotic love as a tense conjoining of bodies:

 

On your stout neck like a column, like a pillar of tendons
The thoughtful forehead
(In fact, it’s thinking nothing)
When the forehead slowly moves and closes the heavy eyelids
Inside, a dark forest awakens
A forest of red parrots
Seven almonds and grape leaves
At the end of the forest a vine
Covers the house where two boys
Lie in each others arms: I’m one of them, you the other
In the house, melancholy and terrible anxiety

 

As one man tries to convince the other to give up on repressing his sexuality by urging him to open his eyes, the whole poem seems soaked in a feeling of melancholy and terrible anxiety which, of course, can be caused by the very fact that only one of the men is at peace with his homosexual attraction.

However, this mood intensifies the dramatism of the struggle in the poem and turns eroticism into a fascinatingly complex experience.

All in all this poem can also be read as a more generic call for people who may have homoerotic impulses to stop resisting them and killing the rare and precious feelings of lust and love.

The Platonic Blow by W. H. Auden

Last, but not least we cannot ignore the long and highly controversial erotic poem written by Wystan Hugh Auden. As the title indicates, this poem focuses on an act of fellatio.

If this is not striking enough for its time, namely the 40s it is a poem about homosexuality as well.

It’s essential to mention that this poem differs from the others we have already discussed through its purely pornographic (rather than lyrical) nature.

Auden wrote this poem as a challenge. It was not included among his usual poems meant for the general public, but it secretly circulated around certain circles.

It was only published in 1965 in the American counterculture magazine entitled Fuck You/ A Magazine of the Arts.

Why is this poem so remarkable? Is it only because of its shocking nature? The answer is more complex: Auden’s poem is valuable both through its daring convention-challenging quality and its aesthetic content.

While there is not much emphasis on subjectivity or internalized eroticism, the sexual act is by no means represented as something shameful or disgusting, in spite of all its explicit and highly abundant details.

We should not forget that during the latter half of the 20th-century oral sex was still a taboo topic.

It may actually be a bit taboo even nowadays for a certain public, although doubtlessly the media and the general direction of art and culture allow for much more freedom and open-mindedness.

This poem may well be the most striking erotic poem ever written, given its whole artistic and socio-cultural context: it was written for a well-defined, but narrow public in 1948 by an established poet.

The poem was published by someone else in 1965 in a counterculture magazine. It depicts nothing more and nothing less than a homosexual act of fellatio; it employs extremely direct and yet not vulgar language; it is quite long and captivating almost as gripping as a 15- minute scene in a porn movie. It describes genuine attraction and quite sophisticated, but also raw eroticism. It involves two men and depicts what could be considered to be an unequal, unilateral sexual act and yet everything seems rather balanced, authentic, and appropriate.

The poem has undeniable aesthetic value through the strength of the sensations and feeling the poem represents.

This list of remarkable attributes could continue. What is amazing about Auden’s erotic poem is the fact that it makes use of little figurative language in order to describe the homosexual act.

However the metaphors we come across are impressive and memorable: the male organ is a work of mastercraft, a firm vase of sperm, or a royal column ineffably solemn and wise; during intimacy, all act was clutch.

The actual communication between the two men is strikingly direct, pure, and authentic:

 

I glanced as I advanced. The clean white T-shirt outlined
A forceful torso, the light-blue denims divulged
Much. I observed the snug curves where they hugged the behind,
I watched the crotch where the cloth intriguingly bulged.
 
Our eyes met, I felt sick. My knees turned weak.
I couldn’t move. I didn’t know what to say.
In a blur I heard words myself like a stranger speak.
“Will you come to my room?” Then a husky voice, “O.K.”

 

The whole poem conveys an impression of disarming and genuine eroticism between two men who are completely aware of and deliberate about their sexuality. There’s no need to hide or pretend since homoeroticism is regarded and treated as an incredibly natural and pleasant experience in which social convention has absolutely no place.

Auden’s poem thus appears as a climax of erotic poetry in its own right. What may have been or may be further written afterward would find it quite challenging to equal its artistic and erotic force, given its whole artistic and cultural context.

 

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What do you think about these authors and their out-of-the-time poems? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

How to Write a Sonnet, Haiku, Riddle, Poems and Rhyme

The Naked Soul Learning Zone
How to Write a Sonnet, Haiku, Riddle, Rhyme, etc.

Learn with examples and write your own.

 

How to Write Poems and Rhyme

When I was a kid, I had a huge obsession with Dr. Seuss’s books, practically every poem I read, included end-rhyme (words at the end of a sentence which rhyme with others at end of a sentence).

Put simply, a poem had to rhyme otherwise, it simply wasn’t one. Although my opinion has now changed (structure and rhythm hold importance, yes but this doesn’t always have to include rhyme) there are some people (you could even be one of them) who hold that same belief that I held as a child.

In this blog we’re going to take a look at verse forms that take rhyme and non-rhyme patterns, so if you are of the opinion that verse has to rhyme to be a poem, maybe I can help change your mind. Grab a pen and a notepad (there are a few exercises to complete during this blog) Iâ€m going to start with haiku writing.

For more information on creative writing and rhyme, please visit here.

 

The Haiku

A haiku is a Japanese poem (or English poem in haiku form) containing seventeen syllables and spanning three lines which follow a five, seven and five syllable pattern; with the third line often taking an unexpected twist.

Haikus are traditionally heavily influenced by nature and the seasons, they’re usually free of metaphors, similes and rhyme too (but are still regarded as poems!).

Poets have been composing haikus for centuries. Kobayashi Issa, was a haiku master from the late 1700s and early 1800s, this is one of his haikus:

Everything I touch
with tenderness, alas,
pricks like a bramble.

 

Ouch! Traditional haikus are generally pretty expressive with a huge focus on nature. The following haiku was written by novelist and master of the haiku, Natsume Soseki:

Over the wintry
forest, winds howl in  rage
with no leaves to blow.

 

For more information and examples, please visit here.

 

Writing Your Haiku

Some writers have expressed that the short length and simplicity of a haiku means that theyâ€re easy to write. But I think that sticking to all its associated traditions can make a haiku a little tricky to get right at first, so when it comes to trying your hand at haiku writing, feel free to break a few of the rules and experiment.

To get yourself started, try freewriting a half page or so of buzz words relating to nature, weather, the seasons, senses (taste, smell etc.) or whatever you think would sit well in a haiku poem. Basically anything to inspire you on your haiku writing journey. Feel free to pick words from the buzz word table below too.

 

Here’s my list:

Singing Tasting Snow Burning
River Creeping Sunlight Thirst
flow fish Breath Desire
Swim Tasting Waves Hunger
Singing Shells Crashing Caressing
Sea Shores Surrender Aroma
Stars Hearts Scent Entwined
Moonlight Ocean Perfume Skin
Birds Water Frozen Fluttering
Trees Leaves Timeless mistletoe
Beating Tumbling Flowering Orchid

 

Now, ready to write your first haiku?

Using words from your list (or a combination of yours and mine if that helps) write a few sentences of around 5 syllables that you feel would sit right in a poem.

Then do the same, this time with sentences of around 7 syllables.

 

My list of sentences looks like this (Iâ€ve added the syllable count to the end of each sentence).

Mistletoe and berries 6 Caged birds, loud singing 5
Ready to take flight 5  Fruitless trees, light rain 5
Melting snow, crisp white 5 Two fluttering hearts 5
Warm breath, cast shadows 5 Rose scent on my fingertips 7
Surrender to our hunger 7 Fallen pine cones, crunching feet 7
Crashing like waves we fall 6 Fallen leaves, deepening wounds 7

Now to make your haiku, throw three of your sentences together using the traditional five, seven and five syllable pattern if you can and see what you come up with.

 

I managed this first time around:

Caged birds, loud singing 5
Two fluttering hearts beating 7
Ready to take flight 5

 

I like the second one I wrote a little better:

Mistletoe, berries 5
Fallen pine cones, fruitless trees 7
Melting snow, warm breath 5 

 

How did you get on? You can probably tell that for me, as a starting point, doing it this way worked quite well. But Iâ€m not done yet.

 

To liven up your haiku writing process when freewriting your buzz words next time, try and think of words or phrases that would sit well in an erotic poem or story. Again, turn them into sentences using the traditional word count and see what you come up with. I managed the haiku below by expanding on some of the buzz word sentences Iâ€d used previously:

 

Soft scent, your fingers
Aroma, hunger, sweet, strong
Like waves we tumble

 

Hey, my first haiku inspired by Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems (an upcoming poetry book on erotic love). Maybe Iâ€ll include some of these in my next anthology! Iâ€d be surprised if you guys didnâ€t manage to get something out of trying out these simple exercises too.

Before I move on to creating poems that rhyme, letâ€s take a look at a poem that, to me, certainly looks like a poem, sounds like a poem but it doesnâ€t rhyme. The poem is called: For My People. It was written in 1942 by poet Margaret Walker:

To read the poem, please visit here.

 

Free Verse

For My People was written in free verse with, this means the poem writer has written their prose freely, following no rules using no metrical patterns (iambic pentameter) – weâ€ll discuss this in more detail later. For me, despite being rhyme free, the poem ‘For My People†has natural rhythm, ebb and flow and itâ€s is a definite poem. Is there anyone out there who disagrees with me? Would love to know why – maybe youâ€ll start to change MY mind!

For more information on Free Verse, please visit here.

 

Sonnets

In this section weâ€re going to focus on creating rhyme patterns, to start off weâ€re looking at sonnets.

Iâ€m wondering, as Elvis Presley has been labelled the King of Rock n Roll, is it OK for me to refer to William Shakespeare as the King of Sonnets? The poet and playwright wrote dozens of them. In fact, he wrote so many (154 to be exact) the poor guy found it hard thinking up titles for them all (being the writer of nearly 40 plays too, he definitely had his work cut out) so ended up just giving his sonnets numbers instead.

Take a close look at William Shakespeareâ€s, Sonnet Number 154.

 

Sonnet 154

The little Love-god lying once asleep, A
Laid by his side his heart-inflaming brand, B
Whilst many nymphs that vowed chaste life to keep A
Came tripping by; but in her maiden hand B
The fairest votary took up that fire C
Which many legions of true hearts had warmed;D
And so the General of hot desire C
Was, sleeping, by a virgin hand disarmed. D
This brand she quenched in a cool well by, E
Which from Love’s fire took heat perpetual, F
Growing a bath and healthful remedy, E
For men diseased; but I, my mistress’ thrall, F

Came there for cure and this by that I prove, G
Love’s fire heats water, water cools not love. G

 

To further read, please visit here. 

 

Youâ€ll notice Iâ€ve labelled the rhyme pattern in capitals at the end of each line, weâ€ll look at these more closely before we try out composing our own sonnets. All of Shakespeareâ€s sonnets follow the end rhyme pattern, illustrated above, of A,B,A,B,C,D,C,D,E,F,E,F,G,G

There are fourteen lines with around ten syllables in each line. This is the typical pattern of all of Shakespeareâ€s sonnets, known as Iambic Pentameter which is the most common meter in poetry. The meter uses a combination of iambic feet (or iambs) which are stressed and unstressed syllables ‘hoNEY†or ‘bisCUITâ€.

The pentameter portion of iambic pentameter refers to the number of feet (iambs) that are repeated in each line of verse (five in the case of the above poem).

 

How to Write a Sonnet

Iâ€m hoping youâ€ll join me in the following exercise – creating a poem using the same rhyme scheme pattern as a Shakespearean sonnet. Weâ€re going to be using a buzz word table again, except this time Iâ€m putting together a selection of words which rhyme or half rhyme, some with one syllable and some with more.

Wine Dine Sublime
This time Entwine Seem
King and queen Serene Sun beams
Trees Berries Sneeze
Clouds Shroud endowed
Fruitful Youthful truthful
Shaker Stake her ground
Home Grown bemoan
He Sea mystery
Eat Defeat cheat
She Be Thee

The table will hopefully help with the end rhyme of your sonnet writing it may also help if you jot down one of Shakespeareâ€s first lines on a page as a starting point to base your rhythm on e.g. Shall I Compare thee to a Summers Day or If Music be the Food of Love, Play on.

I have to admit, I found it hard to get into a 10 syllable sentence mode, but through using one of the Sonnet Kingâ€s opening lines, it got easier. It was still quite a challenge and it took a long time to get to this point, but with a little help from my ideas table, I managed to write my first sonnet. (I warn you if Shakespeare was alive today, he wouldnâ€t worry at all about my stealing his thunder!)

 

If music be the food of love, letâ€s eat
My heart is no more under lock and key
If we dine with fine wine and well cooked meat
Will you be my true love and marry me?
“To fulfil a request that seems sublime
Would seem dishonest and disrespectful
An action to marry in such a short time
Means a lifetime of feeling regretful
Hide away that designer wedding gown
Save it for another in your history
Iâ€ll be willing to smile and hide my frown
I may even allow you to kiss me”
Iâ€m happy to eat this fine tasty feast
But no, I wonâ€t kiss this arrogant beast

 

Ballads

Ballads are poems which usually tell stories. Typically these can be emotional narratives about love, pain, tragedy etc. Generally written in four line stanzas (verses) the meter of a ballad is often iambic (similar to that of Shakespearean sonnets) as in the case of the sad tale below by William Wordsworth.

 

Lucy Gray, or Solitude

Oft I had heard of Lucy Gray:
And, when I crossed the wild,
I chanced to see at break of day
The solitary child.

No mate, no comrade Lucy knew;
She dwelt on a wide moor,
–The sweetest thing that ever grew
Beside a human door!

You yet may spy the fawn at play,
The hare upon the green;
But the sweet face of Lucy Gray
Will never more be seen.

“To-night will be a stormy night—
You to the town must go;
And take a lantern, Child, to light
Your mother through the snow.”

 

To read the complete poem, please visit here.

 

How to Write a Ballad

I think the best time to write a ballad is when youâ€re feeling truly emotional about something. It might be useful to list a few things you would like your ballad to contain beforehand. However, Iâ€m not sure if employing the ‘buzz word” table method used earlier would be as useful for creating a ballad if youâ€re hoping to evoke emotion and empathy.

 

Iâ€m not feeling emotional enough to try writing a ballad at the moment but I do have a few pointers if youâ€re ready:

1. Remember most ballads are written using quatrains (four line stanzas).
2. Ballads are probably easier to write than sonnets as there are no set syllable length patterns to follow.
3. Not all the end words have to rhyme in a ballad stanza but itâ€s useful if two of them do.
4. The last thing I want you to feel is sad or low but being filled with emotion when writing a ballad will, I suspect, only enhance your ballad writing skills. 

 

What is an Ode?

Am going to finish with a section on ode writing, the complexities of some take poetry to a whole new level. The link below contains two different types of ode from way back in time called the Pindaric and the Horatian.

To further read, please visit here.

 

Writing a Pindaric Ode

If youâ€re brave enough (and youâ€ve got enough time on your hands) to write one of these, bear in mind the following before you embark on the longest literary challenge youâ€ll probably ever face:

 

A Pindaric ode is defined by the following triads:

1. Stanzas (There are so many verses in Pindaric odeâ€s, you might want to keep the next couple of months free if youâ€re planning on finishing yours)

2. Strophes and antistrophes. These are essentially any number of lines and lengths that follow whichever rhyme scheme the writer decides on but theyâ€re identical in structure. Considering the epic content of Pindaric odes, Iâ€m thinking this could be one tricky poem to master!

3. Epodes: These differ in whatever way the poet decides is best suited for their odes

 

Wow! Thereâ€s me thinking that sonnets were difficult!

Iâ€m not in a hurry to try writing a Pindaric Ode. Hats off to you if youâ€ve ever tried writing one and completed it.

 

Horatian Odes

Moving on to Horatian odes, which thankfully tend to be shorter than Pindaric odes and less intense (theyâ€re usually written in stanzas of two or four lines). If I was going to emulate anyoneâ€s odes then Roman poet, Horatio, is the one Iâ€d go for. The buzz word table might be useful in creating your ode. But I think if you have enough passion for the person , or thing youâ€re writing the ode for, this will probably serve you in good stead.

 

Iâ€ve decided to finish with my own ode and in the interest of mixing things up and breaking tradition, my ode which is to Dr Seuss, is done in the style of a haiku poem.

 

Oh say, can you say
Seuss. The man! I am a fan
Of Green Eggs and Ham!
 
 
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Top 10 Most Celebrated Erotic Poets: From Sappho to Pablo Neruda

It is a rather difficult task to assort a list of most celebrated poets of erotic literature. I believe many such lists exist today. No such list will appeal to everyone. I am sure, everyone will have a few differences in the choice of selected poets.

With that said (and out of our way), what I present here is my take on this popular subject based on my own research and reading of more than 300 erotic poetry collections.

Most Celebrated Erotic Poets

 

The three criteria’s that I used were: poet’s popularity (determined by their “popularity coefficient”), influence of the poet’s writings on society (then and now), and the quality of work (this factor was more subjective and therefore I preferred to look for the “passion” element in their writing).

This is going to be a long post with plenty of lovely and enjoyable poems. I, therefore, request you to sit tight and enjoy this lovely journey. Here we go with our top 10 most celebrated erotic poets in chronological order.

I: Sappho

Sappho was one of the few female poets of ancient times and wrote lyric poems that could be performed with the accompaniment of a lyre. She was one of the first poets to write in the first person and was known to have romantic feelings mainly for women. Sadly, only fragments of her work are left today and only one of her poems remains in its entirety.

 

Fragment One:

I have not had one word from her
Frankly I wish I were dead
When she left, she wept
great deal; she said to me, This parting must be endured, Sappho,
I go unwillingly.
I said, Go and be happy but remember (you know well)
whom you leave shackled by love
If you forget me, think of our gifts to Aphrodite and
all the loveliness that we shared.

 

Fragment Two: To Atthis

Though in Sardis now,
She thinks of us constantly
And of the life we shared.
She saw you as a goddess
And above all your dancing gave her deep joy.
Now she shines among Lydian women like
The rose-fingered moon
Rising after sundown, erasing all
Stars around her, and pouring light equally
Across the salt sea.

 

These fragments convey a tone of sensuality and a deep desire for the women that Sappho felt affection for. They are beautiful examples of early erotic poetry and serve as an example for subsequent poets.

Sappho remains an inspiration to many contemporary poets and continues to be studied by literary scholars.

For more information visit here.

II: Ovid

Ovid was a Roman poet who was acclaimed in his time for his poetry. He wrote a number of love poems that were collected in works such as The Art of Love.

He was exiled by the emperor Augustus to the barren seaport of Tomi and remained there for the last nine years of his life until his death.

Elegy 5

In summer’s heat and, and mid-time of the day,
To rest my limbs upon a bed I lay;
One window shut, the other open stood,
Which gave such light as twinkles in a wood,
Like twilight glimpse at setting of the sun,
Or night being past, and yet not day begun.
Such light to shamefaced maidens must be shown,
Where they may sport, and seem to be unknown,
Then came Corinna in a long loose gown,
Her white neck hid with tresses hanging down,
Resembling fair Semiramis going to bed
Or Lais of a thousand wooers sped.
I snatched her gown: being thin, the harm was small,
Yet strived she to be covered there withal.
And striving thus, as one that would be cast,
Betraying herself, and yielded at the last.

 

Either she was fool

Either she was fool, or her attire was bad,
Or she was not the wench I wished to have had.
Idly I lay with her, as if I loved not,
And like a burden grieved the bed that moved not.
Though both of us performed our true intent,
Yet could I not cast anchor where I meant.
She on my neck her ivory arms did throw,
Her arms far whiter than the Scythian snow.
And eagerly she kissed me with her tongue,
And under mine her wanton thigh she flung,
Yes, and she soothed me up, and called me Sir,
And used all speech that might provoke or stir.
Yet like as if cold hemlock I had drunk,
It mocked me, hung down the head and sunk.

 

As is evident by these poems Ovid was able to convey the more psychological aspects of love while still using physical imagery.

His poetry is beautiful and a milder form of erotic poetry. Ovid remained a significant literary figure long after his death and was very influential to writers in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

For more information visit here.

III: Petrarch

Petrarch was an Italian poet who wrote prolifically about a woman, Laura, that he encountered on Good Friday in Avignon, France.

He wrote 366 poems based on his love for Laura. He is best known for this sequence which was collected in a song-book entitled Rime Sparse or Scattered Rhymes in English. He was the earliest poet to write using the sonnet.

 

I’d sing of love in such a novel fashion

I’d sing of love in such a novel fashion
That from her cruel side I would draw by force
A thousand sighs a day, kindling again
In her cold mind a thousand high desires;
 
I’d see her lovely face transform quite often
Her eyes grow wet and more compassionate,
Like one who feels regret, when it’s too late
For causing someone’s sorrow by mistake;

 

Alas, so all things now do hold their peace

Alas, so all things now do hold their peace,
Heaven and earth disturbed in no thing;
The beasts, the air, the birds their song do cease;
The nightes car the stars about doth bring.
Calm is the sea, the waves work less and less.
So am not I, whom love, alas, doth wring,
 
Bringing before my face the great increase
Of my desires, whereat I weep and sing
In joy and woe, as in a doubtful ease.
For my sweet thoughts sometimes do pleasure bring.
But by and by the cause of my disease
Gives me a pang that inwardly doth sting,
When that I think what grief it is again
To live and lack the thing should rid my pain.

 

Petrarch’s sonnets are ones of unrequited love and desire. He was never able to be with the woman of his heart’s desires which is reflected in his many sonnets.

His poetry remained influential after his death in 1374 and was translated by Geoffrey Chaucer who incorporated the translations into his own work.

For more information please visit here.

IV: William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare was an influential poet and playwright who wrote erotic poems such as Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. He was recognized in his time for his plays and sonnets that were published in a collection entitled The Sonnets of Shakespeare.

 

Venus and Adonis (But, lo! From worth a copse)

But, lo! from forth a copse that neighbours by,
A breeding jennet, lusty, young, and proud,
Adonis’ trampling courser doth espy,
And forth she rushes, snorts and neighs aloud;
The strong-neck’d steed, being tied unto a tree,
Breaketh his rein, and to her straight goes he.
Imperiously he leaps, he neighs, he bounds,
And now his woven girths he breaks asunder;
The bearing earth with his hard hoof he wounds,
Whose hollow womb resounds like heaven’s thunder;
The iron bit he crushes ‘tween his teeth
Controlling what he was controlled with.

 

Sonnet 98: From you I have been absent in the spring

From you I have been absent in the spring
When proud-pied April, dressed in all his trim,
Hath put a spirit of youth in everything,
That heavy Saturn laughed and leaped with him,
Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell
Of different flowers in odor and in hue,
Could make me any summer’s story tell,
Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew.
Nor did I wonder at the lily’s white,
Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose;
They were but sweet, but figures of delight,
Drawn after you, you pattern of all those.
Yet seemed it winter still, and you away.
As with your shadow I with these did play.

 

These poems are filled with beautiful physical and natural imagery. Shakespeare’s poems are ones filled with desire and flirtation. His poetry although not very erotic in nature remains great testaments to love to this day.

For more information please visit here.

V: Jonathan Swift

Jonathan Swift was best known in his time for publishing Gulliver’s Travels. He had many romantic relationships in his life but wrote primarily about two of his partners in his love poems.

 

A Beautiful Young Nymph Going to Bed

Corinna, pride of Drury-Lane,
For whom no shepherd sighs in vain;
Never did Covent-Garden boast
So bright a batter’d strolling toast!
No drunken rake to pick her up,
No cellar where on tick to sup;
Returning at the midnight hour,
Four stories climbing to her bower;
Then, seated on a three-legg’d chair,
Takes off her artificial hair;
Now picking out a crystal eye,
She wipes it clean, and lays it by.

To Love

In all I wish, how happy should I be,
Thou grand Deluder, were it not for thee!
So weak thou art, that fools thy power despise;
And yet so strong, thou triumph’st o’er the wise.
Thy traps are laid with such peculiar art,
They catch the cautious, let the rash depart.
Most nets are fill’d by want of thought and care
But too much thinking brings us to thy snare;
Where, held by thee, in slavery we stay,
And throw the pleasing part of life away.
But, what does most my indignation move,
Discretion! thou wert ne’er a friend to Love:
Thy chief delight is to defeat those arts,
By which he kindles mutual flames in hearts;
While the blind loitering God is at his play,
Thou steal’st his golden pointed darts away:
Those darts which never fail; and in their stead
Convey’st malignant arrows tipt with lead

 

These poems reveal Jonathan Swift’s conflicting views on love. The first is very sensual in nature with descriptions of a woman undressing while the second is his perspective on love. Both poems reveal a darker side to romance.

The poems referenced can be found by visiting this link and this one.

VI: Robert Burns

Robert Burns was a Scottish poet who wrote prolifically about love and had multiple romantic partners. Some of his most famous poems about love include My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose, and My Girl, She’s Airy.

A Red, Red Rose

O my luve’s like a red, red rose,
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my luve’s like the melodie
That’s sweetly played in tune.
As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till the seas gang dry.

 

Anna, Thy Charms

Anna, thy charms my bosom fire,
And waste my soul with care;
But ah! how bootless to admire, 
When fated to despair!
Yet in thy presence, lovely Fair,
To hope may be forgiven;
For sure ‘twere impious to despair
So much in sight of heaven.

 

Robert Burns’s love poems show that he was a romantic who loved deeply and thought of his partners with great affection. His poetry is still very popular to this day.

The poems referenced can be found by visiting here at poets.org.

VII: Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman was one of the first major American poets. He wrote a number of poems on the subject of love and helped to make sex an acceptable topic in mainstream literature.

To You

Whoever you are, I fear you are walking the walks of dreams,
I fear these supposed realities are to melt from under your feet and hands,
Even now your features, joys, speech, house, trade, manners,
troubles, follies, costume, crimes, dissipate away from you,
Your true soul and body appear before me,
They stand forth out of affairs, out of commerce, shops,
work, farms, clothes, the house, buying, selling, eating,
drinking, suffering, dying.
Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be my poem,
I whisper with my lips close to your ear,
I have loved many women and men, but I love none better than you.
 

A Woman Waits For Me

A woman waits for me, she contains all, nothing is lacking,
Yet all were lacking if sex were lacking, or if the moisture of
the right man were lacking.
Sex contains all, bodies, souls,
Meanings, proofs, purities, delicacies, results, promulgations,
Songs, commands, health, pride, the maternal mystery, the
seminal milk,
All hopes, benefactions, bestowals, all the passions, loves,
beauties, delights of the earth,
All the governments, judges, gods, follow’d persons of the
earth,
These are contain’d in sex as parts of itself and justifications of itself.
Without shame the man I like knows and avows the
deliciousness of his sex,
Without shame the woman I like knows and avows hers.

 

These poems are filled with passion and great sentiment for the ones that Whitman loved. The first poem describes the beauty of a woman he was in a relationship with while the second describes the wonders of sex.

The poems referenced can be found by visiting here.

VIII: Lord Byron

Lord Byron was perhaps the most famous of the Romantic poets. During his lifetime he had two main lovers, his half-sister and his cousin, who inspired many of his poems.

 

When We Two Parted

When we two parted
In silence and tears,
Half broken-hearted,
To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
Colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold
Sorrow to this.

The dew of the morning
Sank chill on my brow –
It felt like the warning
Of what I feel now.
Thy vows are all broken,
And light is thy fame:
I hear thy name spoken,
And share in its shame.

 

Epistle to Augusta

My sister! my sweet sister! if a name
Dearer and purer were, it should be thine;
Mountains and seas divide us, but I claim
No tears, but tenderness to answer mine:
Go where I will, to me thou art the same –
A loved regret which I would not resign.
There yet are two things in my destiny, –
A world to roam through, and a home with thee.
The first were nothing -had I still the last,
It were the haven of my happiness;
But other claims and other ties thou hast,
And mine is not the wish to make them less.
A strange doom is thy father’s sons’s, and past
Recalling, as it lies beyond redress;
Reversed for him our grandsire’s fate of yore,
He had no rest at sea, nor I on shore.

 

These poems reflect some of the turmoil and despair of love. They are filled with beautiful imagery and enable the reader to empathize with him. The poems referenced can be found by visiting here.

IX: Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Dante Gabriel Rossetti was an English poet whose poetry was intensely sexual. He was a passionate lover who was responsible for the suicide of his wife. Irony?

Love’s Nocturn

Master of the murmuring courts
Where the shapes of sleep convene!
Lo! my spirit here exhorts
All the powers of thy demesne
For their aid to woo my queen.
What reports
Yield thy jealous courts unseen?
 
Vaporous, unaccountable,
Dreamland lies forlorn of light,
Hollow like a breathing shell.
Ah! that from all dreams I might
Choose one dream and guide its flight!
I know well
What her sleep should tell to-night.
 

The Stream’s Secret

What thing unto mine ear
Wouldst thou convey, what secret thing,
O wandering water ever whispering?
Surely thy speech shall be of her.
Thou water, O thou whispering wanderer,
What message dost thou bring?
 
Say, hath not Love leaned low
This hour beside thy far well-head,
And there through jealous hollowed fingers said
The thing that most I long to know
Murmuring with curls all dabbled in thy flow
And washed lips rosy red?

 

These poems reflect some of the heartache and despair of love. In these poems, Rossetti was able to convey the emotional turmoil of love and use beautiful natural imagery to describe how he felt about love.

The poems referenced can be found by visiting here.

X: Pablo Neruda

Pablo Neruda was one of the first major Hispanic poets.

He wrote heavily about love in collections such as Veinte poemas de amor y una cancion desperada (Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair) and Cien sonetas de amor (One Hundred Love Sonnets).

 

One Hundred Love Sonnets: XVII

I don’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz,
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as one loves certain obscure things,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.
 
I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom but carries
the light of those flowers, hidden, within itself, 
and thanks to your love the tight aroma that arose
from the earth lives dimly in my body.
 
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where, 
I love you directly without problems or pride:
I love you like this because I don’t know any other way to love,
except in this form in which I am not nor are you,
so close that your hand upon my chest is mine, 
so close that your eyes close with my dreams.

 

The Song of Despair

The memory of you emerges from the night around me.
The river mingles its stubborn lament with the sea.
Deserted like the wharves at dawn.
It is the hour of departure, oh deserted one!
 
You swallowed everything, like distance.
Like the sea, like time. In you everything sank!
It was the happy hour of assault and the kiss.
The hour of the spell that blazed like a lighthouse.
 
In the childhood of mist my soul, winged and wounded.
Lost discoverer, in you everything sank!
You girdled sorrow, you clung to desire,
sadness stunned you, in you everything sank!
 
I made the wall of shadow draw back,
beyond desire and act, I walked on.
Oh flesh, my own flesh, woman whom I loved and lost,
I summon you in the moist hour, I raise my song to you.

 

These poems are filled with desire for the women of Neruda’s affections and show how passionate Neruda was about love. These poems convey a sense of unconditional love and are great sentiments to the power of love.

Both poems referenced can be found by visiting here and here.

 

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What do you think about these poets and erotic poems? Do you agree or do you have alternative suggestions or poets I should look into? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

A Brief History of Erotic Poetry | The Evolution of Eros in Literature

I: Ancient Times

Erotic poetry has been written since as far back as ancient times with ancient Greece, in particular, producing such poets as Erato who was mythologized as the muse of erotic poetry and mimic imitation and represented holding a lyre according to classical Greek writers (Atsma, n. pag.)

Brief History of Erotic Poetry

Another famous Greek poet was Sappho who was known for writing poetry from the island she resided on, the isle of Lesbos. Sappho wrote poems that were primarily focused on the topics of love, desire, and reflection.

She was a prolific poet and lyricist who had women sent to her island to be educated in the arts. Unfortunately, only one poem of hers in its entirety exists today. She was one of the first known female poets (North, n. pag.)

Roman civilization produced the well-known poet, Ovid, who is recognized for Amores (The Loves); Medicamina Faciei (Cosmetics, the Art of Beauty); Ars Amatoria (The Art of Love); and Remedia Amoris (Remedies for Love).

He was a celebrated poet in his time who was exiled by the Roman emperor, Augustine, to Tomis, a Black Sea port on a remote portion of the Roman Empire (Kenney 1).

Another Roman poet was Gaius Valerius Catullus who was known for translating works by Sappho and writing poetry dedicated to his two lovers, Juventius, his boyfriend, and Clodia, a married woman accused of killing her husband during her affair with Catullus.

Clodia’s name in verse was Lesbia and the poems depict his feelings for her, but also how he criticized her immorality and infidelity (Bocquey 1).

Sextus Propertius was a Roman poet whose only surviving work consists of four books of couplets that are love poems dedicated to his mistress of lower social status, Cynthia. He is recognized for allowing his predominantly male audience to have a good glimpse into his romantic relationship with Cynthia (Cook 1).

II: Medieval Period

As time progressed, more poets emerged in Italy including Guido Cavalcanti and Petrarch. Guido Cavalcanti was best known for publishing Canzone (A lady asks me).

Cavalcanti was friends with a significant literary figure, Dante Aligheri, and Dante was said to have thought of him as the father of modern love poetry (Ruud n. pag.)

Petrarch was known for writing love poems dedicated to a woman he allegedly encountered in a church in Avignon on Good Friday of 1327. From 1327 on he began writing poetry dedicated to this woman and his Canzoniere (Scattered Rhyme) represented his great love for the woman in a collection of 366 lyric poems.

What is significant about this work is his use of the sonnet which became more popular after this work was published. His poems focused on the sexual frustration he experienced from never being able to be alone with the woman, Laura, and the emotions he expressed stemming from this great love (Ruud n. pag).

However, Italy did not produce all of the great poets of this period. Geoffrey Chaucer, a British poet best known for publishing The Canterbury Tales, was also known for depicting the love between Troilus and Criseyde in Troilus and Criseyde which was based on Boccaccio’s Teseida.

Chaucer is considered to be the father of English literature and for making English a more accepted language in literature (Ruud n. pag).

During this same period, a Welsh poet, Dafydd ap Gwilym, was making great contributions to the Welsh literary tradition. Dafydd has been credited with writing over a hundred love poems about the pursuit of love, its successes and failures, and the moods of being in love.

Throughout his poems, Dafydd praised women on their body parts and hardly ever on their dress, jewelry, or superficial appearance.

III: Sixteenth Century

The first major Italian poet of this period was Ludovico Ariosto who wrote sonnets dedicated to his wife, Alessandra, who he married in 1526.

He was most famous though for his three-volume epic poem, Orlando Innamorato (Orlando in Love), which depicted Orlando’s passion for Angelica and the love affair between Ruggiero and Rinaldo’s sister Bradamante.

In the mid-1500s, a French poet, Maurice Sceve, emerged into fame while only a student when he allegedly discovered the tomb of Petrarchâ€s Laura in Avignon.

In the beginning of his literary career, he wrote short descriptive poems known as blasons on anatomy including poems on the eyebrow, a tear, a neck, a forehead, and a sigh.

During this period he met 16-year-old Pernette du Guillet and developed a close friendship with her. Her marriage to another man led Sceve to write his longest work, Delie, Obiect de plus haulte vertu (Delie, a subject of the highest virtue).

Another writer in the mid-1500s, the French poet, Pierre de Ronsard, tried to mask the intense sexual experiences in his early love poems by infusing classical mythology into his poems about his lover, Cassandre Salviati.

He had numerous affairs throughout his life and addressed his poems to multiple partners. He particularly wrote poems about these women including such names as Cassandre, Genevre, Jeanne, Marguerite, Marie, and Helene.

The poems he wrote about Helene were collected in Sonets pour Helene (1578) and were some of his best works as he wrote from the viewpoint of a jaded lover who began to see love as a physical desire according to the “Encyclopedia of Renaissance Literature.

In the late 1500s, Sir Philip Sidney produced The Countess of Pembrokeâ€s Arcadia, a romance in five books dedicated to his muse, his sister, Mary. Arcadia was filled with damsels in distress, knights, subverted gender roles, and sexual freedom.

Sidney was also known for his sequence of sonnets, Astrophel and Stella, which depicted the relationship between Astrophel and Stella.

During this same period, Edmund Spenser, a British poet celebrated for his The Faerie Queene, married Elizabeth Boyle and described his love for her in Amoretti, a series of sonnets.

His writing of love poems continued with the publication of Four Hymns of love and beauty and Prothalamion, a song describing the betrothal of two daughters of the Earl of Spencer.

IV: Seventeenth Century

William Shakespeare was the most renowned poet at the end of the sixteenth century and the beginning of the 17th century.

Shakespeare’s first published work was the narrative poem, Venus and Adonis, which at the time was his most popular work due to the erotic content within the poem. He was, of course, best known for his large body of dramatic works but his poetry is still alluded to in contemporary literature.

In the late 1600s, John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, achieved fame for his poetry that specialized in the libertine tradition which according to The Facts on File Companion to British Poetry, 17th, and 18th Centuries is a tradition that reflects the values of the skeptic who questions traditional moral ideas.

He along with other poets was known to use sexual references to express disgust. Libertines were extremely interested in women preferring them over men. Wilmot’s legacy remains in his profane poetry that gave power to women at a time when women were very much considered subordinate to men.

A former British spy, Aphra Benn, was one of the first popular female English poets in the late 17th century. She served as a spy in Holland for England but had to plead the English court for payment. She ended up in debtors prison but a man she had met in Holland, Tom Killigrew, may have paid her way out of prison.

She became fascinated with sex and power from her time engaged in espionage and had many lovers one of which inspired her most widely circulated poems including The Disappointment; The Dream; Love Armed; On Her Loving Two Equally; On the Death of Waller; To the Fair Clarinda; and The Willing Mistress.

Behn was best known in her time for the sexual imagery she incorporated into her writing according to The Facts on File Companion to British Poetry, 17th, and 18th Centuries.

V: Eighteenth Century

When the 18th century began, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was the first significant German writer and poet and was known for writing great lyrical poetry. He was also a researcher who conducted scientific research in evolutionary biology, anatomy, and the theory of color and critically analyzed non-Western literature (Burt n. pag).

His work was widely admired in his time and he contributed several significant works to the literary canon including Faust, Erotic Poems, and The Sorrows of Young Werther.

An Irish poet, Jonathan Swift, widely recognized for the publication of Gulliver’s Travels, wrote about his romantic relationship with the daughter of the steward of a statesman and diplomat, Esther Johnson.

He characterized her as Stella in his poems and she was a significant part of his life until her death. However, she was not the only woman who dominated his life. The second woman, Esther Vanhomrigh, was known as Vanessa in his poems such as Cadenus and Vanessa.

He was known in his time as a man who was involved in many romantic relationships but these two were the most important in his life (Brackett n. pag).

A significant Scottish poet, Robert Burns, wrote heavily about sensuality and love in poems such as A Red, Red Rose; A Fond Kiss and Then We Sever; My Girl, Sheâ€s Airy; and The Fornicator.

These poems described his relationships with women and the physical aspects of love. He was married to one woman but was known to flirt with a number of other women (Hager n. pag.)

VI: Nineteenth Century

Walt Whitman was a major American poet throughout the 19th century whose poetry contained autoerotic and homoerotic imagery.

He described his love for his comrades in works such as the classic Leaves of Grass including poems such as From Pent-Up Aching Rivers and As I Lay with My Head in Your Lap. Whitman is recognized for helping to make sex an acceptable subject in mainstream literature (Huff n. pag.)

Charles Baudelaire, a French poet, wrote a number of erotic poems inspired by a serious of romantic affairs. One woman in particular, Jeanne Duval, who he met in 1842, inspired his La chevelure (The Head of Hair).

He also wrote poetry about two other women, Marie Daubrun, an actress, and Apollonie Sabatier, who led a salon for artists and writers. The first collection of his erotic poetry, Les fleurs du Mal was published in 1857 and contained erotic, satanic, and lesbian themes. It was not well received publicly and six poems were banned from public reading (Diamond n. pag.)

George Gordon, Lord Byron, a British poet, first became involved in passionate relationships with other men while being educated at Harrow. He then fell in love with his cousin, Mary Chaworth, who inspired poems such as Hills of Annesley, The Adieu, Stanzas to a Lady on Leaving England, and The Dream.

During this relationship, he began writing to his half-sister, Augusta, who became his lover and wife. He wrote about this relationship in works such as The Bride of Abydos and Parisina, Manfred, and Cain (Bloom n. pag).

Friedrich Holderin was a German poet who wrote several famous poems about a love affair he was engaged in. The woman was often referred to as Diotima in his poems. His poems about Diotima were classical in nature and considered among the greatest German lyrical poems (Diamond n. pag.)

Dante Gabriel Rossetti emerged in the mid-1800s as a British poet whose work was intensely sexual. In poems such as “Nuptial Sleep and The Stream’s Secret he reflected on sex and passion.

Rossetti was a passionate and romantic lover who was responsible for the suicide of his wife. He was a member of the pre-Raphaelite school of poetry that often included poets who were also painters (Flesch, n. pag.)

VII: Twentieth Century to the Present

As the twentieth century began erotic poetry began to evolve. In the early twentieth century, an Egyptian poet, Constantine Cavafy wrote poems that influenced Greek poets. His poetry was mainly known for its open expression of homosexuality and its themes of love and desire (Diamond, n. pag).

A Japanese poet, Yosano Akiko at the dawn of the twentieth century was one of the first women to have complete work published in Japan.

The collection, Tangled Hair, contained poems about sexual desire and the experience of falling in love. Akiko wrote these poems based on her relationship with the man who would become her husband (Arana, n. pag.)

One of the first major Hispanic poets, Pablo Neruda, published a series of poems about love entitled Veinte poemas de amor y una cancion desperada (Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair) that expressed how he felt about love.

In poems such as “I like for you to be still and Tonight I Can Write, Neruda was able to enthrall romantic partners and depicted his own series of love affairs.

Later in his life he published a collection of love sonnets entitled Cien sonetos de amor (One Hundred Love Sonnets depicting his relationship with Matilde Urrutia who became his third wife (Beasley, n. pag.)

Another Hispanic poet from Nicaragua, Giocanda Belli, wrote a poem that according to literary critics was vaginal poetry and shameless pornography.

In poems such as And God Made Me Woman Belli wrote verses that depicted her love for her body. Her poems about love and sex were collected in works such as Sobre la grama (On the Grass; Amor insurrecto (Insurrectional love); and El ojo de la mujer (Woman’s Eye) (Roof, n. pag).

An Argentinian poet, Alfonsina Storni, was known for her poems about passionate love which were contained in works such as La inquietud de rosal (Anxiety of the Rosebush); El dulce dano (Sweet Pain); Irremediablemente (Irremediably); and Languidez (Languor).

She was controversial in her time for having an illegitimate child with a man she had a romantic relationship with (Roof, n. pag.)

The Indian-born British poet, Lawrence Durrell, wrote several volumes of poetry based on the classical Greek tradition that was considered sensual in nature. He described the imagery of love and the senses that lovers felt while together (Stade and Karbiener n. pag.)

A significant Palestinian poet, Mahmud Darwish, wrote poems that alluded to works from ancient Greece, Mesopotamia, pre-Islamic Arabia, Persia, and India. One poem that he wrote, Lesson from the Kama Sutra, depicted erotic love in a sensual manner that was poetic and filled with a sense of desire and yearning (Ghazoul, n. pag.)

The first major Haitian poet, Rene Depestre, depicted women in an erotic manner in poems such as Alleluia pour une femme-jardin (Hallelujah for a Garden-Woman) and Eros dans un train chinois (Eros in a Chinese train).

These poems helped develop the style of poetry referred to as erotic-magical realism (Diamond, n. pag).

As is evident by these poets and their works, erotic poetry has evolved over time from the classical tradition of Ancient Greece to more contemporary works that embrace controversial themes such as homosexuality. These poems are filled with passion and display admiration for the beauty of love.

Early erotic poets may have been considered scandalous in their time but it is clear that they are more widely accepted today especially with the publication of novels like Fifty Shades of Grey.

 

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What do you think about this article? I am sure there are things that I have missed. Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

Interview With R. M. Drake: Who Is This Instagram Famous Poet?

Instagram has seen a humongous growth in recent years. With this explosive user growth, we also see the rise in posts related to literary nature. Quotations and poetry, in particular, are very popular on this relatively young social media platform.

Interview With Writer Robert M. Drake

There are a lot of accounts which posts poems, quotations and short pieces of writing. Amidst this jungle of writers, one name that comes to the forefront is @rmdrk. Behind this hugely popular username (@rmdrk) is actually a Miami based young street artist and writer, Robert M. Drake.

Robert has recently published his third book Beautiful Chaos through lulu.com. His work is being read by over a million people (across the world) on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. His book is already on top third position on Amazon.com in American Poetry category.

I must admit, that it was an honor to interview the man who is not only both successful and highly creative but someone who is being followed by some of the hottest celebrities of our time. Naturally, it sparks a curiosity to meet and know more about this man!

It is impossible to find out the complete list of celebrities who follow him but the man and writer Robert M. Drake is followed by Khloe Kardashian (American reality TV star), Kendall Jenner (American reality TV star and fashion model), Kylie Jenner (American reality TV star), Sophia Bush (American actress and activist), and Shay Mitchell (Canadian actress and model).

There is little to no doubt that thousands of young and aspiring writers want to know more about Robert. This is where this interview idea came to my mind. I knew I wanted to know more about him. Well, it is my pleasure and honor to introduce Robert to all of you.

Without further ado, enter R. M. Drake.

 

Robert M. Drake: On Lifestyle and the Man Himself

Robert, are you originally from Miami, FL? 

Yes, I am originally from Miami, FL.

What’s your favorite place to eat in Miami?

Currently, I do not have a favorite place. There used to be a spot in a south beach called Van Dykes. It was a restaurant/bar/jazz lounge. It was fresh. I would kick it there several times a month. Good food, good people, good music and good drinks.

Do you like living in Miami? If you were to relocate, where would be that?

Probably San Francisco. I love it there. I feel unreal when I am there.

Do you have any pets? If yes, what are their names?

I have a Dog named Stewie. He is a rescue dog. When I was ready to adopt a dog I went to a local shelter. I remember seeing Stewie and his sister. I liked him a lot. He was very friendly but unfortunately, I did not take him.

A whole week passed and I still thought about him. I felt bad that I did not adopt him. I went back about a week later and his sister was gone but he was still in the shelter. I immediately adopted him and the rest is history.

He is very kind and lovely. Sometimes I feel for him because he cannot speak. I can see a lot of emotion in his eyes. It saddens me.

So Robert, do you write full-time?

Yes, I do, and I am very fortunate to be able to write full-time. I have put in a lot of sweat and blood into writing. Not a lot of people know that I have been writing since 1994. I have written numerous stories.

I have a 650-page book coming out called “A Brilliant Madness.” It a collection of five short stories I have written from circa 2003 to 2007. I am also working on “Gravity”, a novel.

Robert, let’s talk about Spirituality a little bit. Do you believe in God? Life after death?

I am not sure what I believe in. I feel things that I do know of. I have seen things that I do know of. I have a lot of questions regarding the entire religious spectrum. I have had very lucid dreams and experiences that question the ideals of Divinity.

I would like to say “No”, I do not, but something deep inside me tells me to believe and to keep searching. I am not sure what is it but there is something that does not want to eradicate my entire belief in God.

Maybe after all this is a human flaw, to believe that we can only define ourselves until we cannot and then there is a “God” to finish defining whatever it was you could not.

I do believe in life after death. My brother just passed in late August and we have spoken a few times.

Robert, on your Etsy store you mention that you are a sculptor and painter as well. Were you creative since childhood? Do you plan on exhibiting your work in the future?

When I was a child my parents were very poor. They did not have the money to buy me toys. In fact, I would only receive a gift during Christmas time. There were many instances where my father would buy me clay (because it was very cheap) instead of action figures or play guns, etc.

This was the only way I would lose myself. I would use whatever was around me and play. With the clay, I would sculpt action figures and play. When I was outside, I would pick up sticks and play. I was highly imaginative back then. It still amazes me to see how children use their imagination to getaway.

Imagination is a powerful thing. Some of us keep it and nurture it as we grow and some of us forget we have it.

I paint a lot of things. I do a lot of street art. It is everywhere in Miami and in other cities across the USA.  No, I do not exhibit or plan on exhibiting my works. I like my artwork to stay in the streets. It belongs there and I would never want my work to be represented in a gallery. (I have turned down so many requests).

My artwork is free and it is for everyone and it will always be. I would hate for my work to be owned and kept away from everyone who has yet experienced it.

With over 1M+ followers, you are a celebrity on Instagram. Tell us what does it feels like?

It is not real. I am not a celebrity. My work is shared by millions of people but nothing has really changed in my life. I still have the same life and I still live in a shitty apartment. Nothing has changed.

My writing only lives in the digital. It is not real but what is real is the feeling and hope my work gives to people and for that I am grateful. I am very blessed to be in a position where my thoughts and feelings influence a lot of people and that alone is enough to make me feel like my life is worth more than what is it right now.

Do you believe in love at first sight?

No. I believe in lust at first sight. I think that makes more sense to me. The illusion of love at first sight is not real.

 

Robert M. Drake on Writing

Tell us something about your upcoming novel “Gravity”?

Gravity is a novel that I have been writing since 2013. I do not want to mention too much about it at this time but I can tell you one thing: when you read it, you will lose track of time.

You will feel like you are dying only to reborn within every word. You will see yourself in the characters of the story and you will learn how to fall in love with something other than a person (human being).

The story is a reflection of our spirit and I have been chosen to write such a story. It is beautifully tragic in such a way that EVERYONE will be able to relate to it. This is why it is called Gravity, the attraction/force one we will never be able to break free of.

Can you talk about people or books you have read that have inspired you to embark on your own writing career?

I idolize great minds such are Virginia Woolf, Albert Camus, Walt Disney, Jean Paul Sartre, The Rza (which I will be working with soon), John Steinbeck, Nas, Steve Jobs, Kiki Smith, my college English Professor Robert Stambaugh and many more. The list is too long to list.

Can you talk about that one defining the moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

I wrote a story called “The Balcony” back in 1999. It was about a girl who jumped off a balcony because she felt so alone and she felt like no one could help her. As morbidly awful as that sounds it actually made the people I showed it to cry.

I knew whatever it was I had in me was special. After that when I was in college, I remember a lot of my professors telling me that I should be a writer. I never stopped writing. It was in my blood and I became obsessed with the idea of writing. Not because I thought it was “cool” but because I felt like I wanted to tell stories; stories that I thought I would like to read as a reader.

I want to capture something and I know I have still not captured what it is that I am trying to capture. If that makes any sense. I would probably feel this way until I die because I am always evolving and what I am trying to define is also evolving. There will never be an end to my work/research. I will never be done.

In your opinion, what is the most difficult part of the writing process? 

Trying to write when you do not feel like writing. And that’s all, really it is.

What advice would you give to budding authors?

Write what you know and do not write what others are writing. I understand there are certain things and emotions we all feel and go through. But if you are happy, do not write about hurting. I believe it is best to express what you are feeling at the moment. This way, the expression remains raw and fresh.

I am not saying you cannot write about something you went through last year because you can. But I believe it is best to write about whatever it is that is current. It keeps your feelings relevant to the “now” instead of waiting to write about whatever it is you want to write later.

I would also suggest to keep writing even if you express yourself poorly or if you do not like what you are writing. Keep writing. Do not compare yourself to other writers/authors because none are alike. It will only bring you down.

Also, the more renowned you get, the more recognition you will receive. There will be a lot of love but with praise and love comes hatred. For me, it fuels me to become better. I love it!

I love it when someone tells me my work is terrible. Thank you, I want to write better. I want to write deeper, and I will. I am not going anywhere. So, all of you who judge my work negatively and hate it, thank you. Keep hating; it makes me and my writing better.

Does your poetry carry a particular message or do you write for pleasure?

I do not write poetry. At least to me, I never saw them as “poems”. I write stories; that is all I have ever wanted to do. I do carry a message in my stories and the world has yet to see all that I can do.

These social media “thoughts and messages” are about 5% of what I want to do. I believe, if I play my cards right then I will leave a very powerful message behind when I pass away. I can assure you that. 

All the mentions of “her” and “she” in your poems… are there particular people you write about?

They are characters in my stories. And, yes each character is always inspired by someone I know. So yes in a way it is.

What challenges have you had to face in your writing career?

My greatest challenge was probably to get my writing out in front of my readers. It has been a blessing that I have used Social Media to stretch out my thoughts and stories to millions of people.

It is a beautiful thing that I am not enslaved by a publishing company and restricted. I want to show people to not be afraid to fail, and live your dreams. I want to show people that failure is bound to happen but you can succeed. Be free and do what you love. No excuses.

Can someone make living from writing? What advice would you give to struggling artists out there?

Do not sell yourself to a company. Do not let them buy you by offering you a little something you can probably do yourself. You can make money of any product; you just need to present it properly. This is the way the world works. If you are an artist and you want to make a living off your art then study and learn about marketing. It is an entirely different world and a world that might seem too vast to grasp.

This is why a lot of people sign contracts and all. They do not want to deal with the marketing part of their endeavor. But then you are selling your art for a small piece of the cake. Companies will rob you blind and rob you of your work. Do not be a slave. Be your own boss and find the motivation to become so.

Any near term personal goals or long term ambitions?

To live, at least long enough to write a few novels. My brother recently passed away. I know I do not have all the time in the world. My goal is to live a little longer.

Where do you think you will be after 25 years?

I cannot see that far into the future. I am sorry.

 

Robert M. Drake: Just for Fun

What is your favorite English word?

“Beautiful.”

What is your least favorite word?

“No.”

Can you talk about a fan encounter that completely took you by surprise?

One time I was doing street art and a bunch of people came up to me because they saw what I was doing and it caught their interest. When they saw what I had put up they freaked out, and then I freaked out. I do not know how I feel about being exposed. This is why I like to remain in the shadows.

If a film is made on you, who would play your role?

I am not sure. I do not watch too much TV or movies. I do not own a TV and I have not had cable since 2012. I’m not into TV or movies; I don’t know a lot of actors so I feel like I cannot answer this properly. I’m sorry.

So you might know that Khloe Kardashian and several other Celebrities follow you on Instagram. Have you met Khloe in person?

Khloe is fresh. I love her and that is all I want to mention about that.

Do you like going to the zoo?

I have not been in a long time. But it is okay.

What do you do when not writing or painting?

Drinking. Sometimes I have to live a little to remove the heaviness pilling up from the inside.

On what do you spend the most: clothes, accessories, perfumes, underwear, food, etc.?

I do not spend much money. I was poor all my life. I guess in a way I am not attached to anything materialistic but if I must say I do like spending on other people. It makes me feel good about myself.

What were your friend’s and family’s reactions to your success? Were they surprised, appreciative, happy? Tell us a little more about it?

No one actually knows. I do not like telling too much about my work to the people I am close. It might change people and I like to protect the very few people I have left. I do not let any new person in my life; that is all.

Do you have a nickname?

My friends call me Bobby.

 

I hope you enjoyed this interview with R.M. Drake as much as I did preparing and putting it out. Since you are already here, let me tell you a secret. You can subscribe to the Naked Soul letters (see top right of the page) to receive exclusive contents, informative posts and fun-entertaining articles.

Also, please tell me, who would you want me to interview next? Please comment below. Do not forget to follow Robert @rmdrk and Naked Soul @naked_soul_poems on Instagram.

Get the book Beautiful Chaos here on Amazon.

 

Official Book Trailer | Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems

The below book trailer video was shot in New York. The story presents two lovers meeting each other after a long separation while they recite two poems from the book.

Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems

The book will be released worldwide both online and in stores. Naked Soul book is available for purchase starting February 2, 2015, in both ebook and print (soft paperback). The audiobook will be released soon.

Please visit Naked Soul’s Facebook and Instagram page for more pictures, videos, and quotes.

Official Book Trailer

Did you like the book trailer? The story? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Being a Naked Soul

Being a Naked Soul is more than just using a catchy phrase. Being naked means being as you are, as your true self, without any covering of ego. A person who loves without any expectation is a naked soul. True love is unconditional. True love is the essence of all life and the universe.

Every soul needs a touch of such love. A deep, unconditional love is what every heart truly desires. True love is passionately erotic. Here, once again, I am both happy and excited to present to you another awesome video on the upcoming book Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems. Love is all.

Hope you enjoy this short video as much as we have enjoyed filming and making it. Remember, true love is when you’re kept up all night thinking of someone, and then when you fall asleep, you find your lover in your dreams.

No three words have greater power than “I Love You“. Let your heart speak its own poetry and feelings. Let your desire be touched by these words. Let these poems stir the passion in you.

Once this passion is aroused and strengthened, you will live in the moment, fearing nothing, living for no one but your own soul and the duty that it has carried since the time of your birth.

This book is all about getting in tune with our deepest, most intimate feelings. 

Like it? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

Read Next

What is Friendship? Who is a True Friend?

friends

A faithful friend is the medicine of life. ~ Ecclesiastics 6:16

To understand the very fabric of friendship, one of my favorite places to look is the Bible. Undoubtedly, the Bible presents the theme of friendship in a very unique way.

In the book of Ecclesiastics, the author Solomon uttered these words “a faithful friend is the medicine of life when he linked friendship with medicine and life. For a greater and complete understanding, let us seek and explore the true essence and meaning of these two words: friend and friendship.

“A friend is, as it were, a second self.” ~ Marcus T. Cicero

So, what is friendship? Who is a friend? A friend is a lover. Love is the essence of friendship. Mother Teresa said, Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own heart and house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next-door neighbor.

Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living experience of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greetings. Expressing love in such a manner is the way of a true friend.

Est mihi nescio quid quod me tibi temperat astrum
“There is something, I know not what, which yokes our fortunes, yours and mine.”

Literally speaking, a friend is a lover and the one who speaks the truth. The relationship between Latin amcus “friend” and am “I love” is clear, as is the relationship between Greek philos “friend” and phile “I love.”

In the Old English language, about a millennium back, frÄ“ond, the word for “friend,” was simply the present participle of the verb frÄ“on, “to love.” The root of this verb is Germanic which is frÄ« -, which meant “to like and love”. That was what meant by “to be friendly with”.

This same root word also shows up in the name of the Germanic deity “Frigg”, the goddess of love, who lives on today in the word Friday, the day of Frigg. Also, it is worth taking note that in the Old English, freo also means “free.” Therefore, to love, to favor, is also related to being free. Interesting!

In Dutch and Afrikaans, the word for friend is Vriend which come from Old English Freond meaning “to love. In Italian, it is Amico which comes from the root Amare meaning to love.

In French, it is Ami which comes form the root aimer meaning “to love. In Spanish, a friend is Amigo which comes from the root word Amor meaning “to love.

In Albanian, it is Mik which comes from the root Amicus in Latin meaning “to love. In Urdu, the original implication of Dost meaning friend is “lover” which comes from the Persian Dost which also means “a lover”. Therefore, a friend is a lover.

In Tagalog Kaibigan is the word for friend. The root word “ibig“, means “to love.” Putting “ka” before a root word signifies a state of being, such as “ka-ibig“, literally “being someone to love”. Putting “an” after a word makes the focus of the sentence the direction of the action, such as “ibig” “to love with “-an” becomes “-ibigan“, literally meaning “a state of soul to be in love. Thus, “Kaibigan” could literally mean, “the state of being someone to share love with”.

Love can never wound. Nothing can hurt if there is the element of love inside it. Love is the essence of the creation of this world. On the other hand, an insincere and evil one is thus a person who is void of this love. Without love friendship cannot be understood. While many people may be our casual associates in our earthly life, few are those who walk in truth and posses the element of love inside them.

Nos duo turba sumus.
We two are a multitude.

The powerful words of friendship can heal wounds, mend broken hearts, restore peace and strengthen a soul more than ever. Jesus himself called His followers as friends and defined a true meaning of friendship by dying for all of humanity and on behalf of all the fallen creation.

A group of friends can make life so much fun

In the Bible, in the graceful journey of God with man, there are multitudes of words and speaking that have a word “friend” in it. “The Book of Proverbs might almost be called a treatise on Friendship, so full is it of advice about the sort of person a young man should consort with, and the sort of person he should avoid, said Huge Black in his book Friendship.

“It is better to be in chains with friends, than to be in a garden with strangers.” ~ Persian Proverb

In Proverbs 27:9 we read, Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel. The Gospels state that Jesus Christ declared, No one has greater love than this that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you.

It is not by chance that there is a great emphasis put on friendship in the New Testament, as is the case in any other scriptures. The classical literature is filled with the stories of great friendships. Ancient mythology and legends are deeply woven into the illustrations of great friendship, which in some instances almost assumed the place of a religion itself. The classical example of Krishna and Sudama and Krishna and Arjuna are excellent examples.

Friendship is considered one of the main human experiences, and has been sanctified by most major religions and myths. The Abrahamic faiths have the story of David and Jonathan. Friendship played an important role in German Romanticism.

“An honest answer is the sign of true friendship.” ~ Proverbs 24:26

In philosophy, Aristotle is known for his discussion in the Nicomachean Ethics of Philia, which is usually translated as “to love in friendship,” and includes friendship in a much broader concept. Aristotle’s conception of friendship conceived of three distinct categories or ‘tiers’ thereof. First, there are the ‘business partners,’ those who benefit financially from their friends; second, there are our ‘drinking-buddies’ – people we have fun with; and, thirdly, people with whom we pursue virtue or arete.

Hold a true friend with both your hands. ~ Nigerian Proverb

In Arabic, there three common words for a friend are Sadeeq which comes form Sadaqa to say the truth or to be truthful; Sahib which comes from Sahiba to accompany; and Rafeeq which comes from Rifq which is Kindness. Among the three the oldest and the truest word for friend is Sadeeq which is the one who always tells the truth. He is called so because a friend does two things: he tells you the truth and he believes what you say and vice-versa.

“A friend is one to whom one may pour out all the contents of one’s heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that the gentlest of hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away.” ~ Arabian Proverb

Thus we can conclude that in Arabic, the word for “friend” comes from the root “truth”. Because “Who is a friend?” The one who tells the truth.

For many people, friendship is just that trust that someone will not harm them. Thus a friend is a person whom one knows well, likes, and trusts. It is nothing more than that. This feeling and confidence in another human being are truly praiseworthy and essential for the healthy functioning of human civilization.

How to do Mindfulness Meditation in 9 Steps? Learn step-by-step in just 15 minutes

Have you ever wondered why mediation is so popular in our culture? It is no wonder that in today’s society, which is full of stress and anxiety, meditation helps people in calming one’s mind and bringing clarity of thoughts.

You may ask, What is meditation? To that, I would say, Meditation is the mindful observance of our own mind. ‘Watching the self’ is the key in meditation. This impersonal act of witnessing our own self from within brings quietness and peace to our being.

The primary purpose in mindfulness-meditation is to observe or watch our inner self — without any judgment, evaluation or expectation. Just by watching, you immediately get out of the never-ending-thought-train. When you stop or slow down the thinking mind, you feel serene and calm.

However, I must add that feeling good and peaceful is not the primary goal of meditation.

The ultimate goal of meditation is to seek to know your own true self. The chief aim of mediation is to experience the no-mind and to seek and know the truth. The realization of the oneness of all life with a compassionate and loving heart is the final fruit of mediation.

But, to embark upon such a quest, one must be relaxed first: physically and emotionally. Therefore, any mediation practice begins with the calming of the mind.

How to do Mindfulness Meditation

Once you are relaxed you are ready to begin your journey. The most common question that people often ask is “How do I meditate?” I have never done meditation before, how can I start?

Well, I was in your spot once and I figured it out. It is actually simple. Below you will find out how one can start practicing meditation and stick to one’s schedule at one’s own pace.

A step-by-step guide

1. Find a place that is quiet and not too warm or cold. Find a seating cushion or something comfortable that you can use to sit on. If you do not have a seating pillow or cushion, you can also use a chair. If you are going to use a chair, make sure that the height of the chair is not too tall or short according to your height.

 

2. You do not have to fold your arms or feet in a certain fashion or order but you certainly can if you want to. The first step is to make your physical body comfortable. You want to minimize the physical discomfort so that you can take on the greater challenges of the mind and spirit.

 

3. As you sit and are still preparing, keep this thought in mind that you are at ease and you are safe and at ease. This silent affirmation will help relax your body.

Gently close your eyes and breathe slowly and deep. Do not rush into breathing deeply. Let the natural flow and rhythm take control. Keep breathing deeply yet gently.

 

Just be

4. Now you are ready to “just be”. The first step is to not do anything. Yes, do not do anything. This is the first step. Do not repeat a mantra, or a word or anything. Do not imagine or focus on any image or symbol. Just be. Be relaxed. Just watch whatever the mind is doing.

 

Breathe

5. Focus on your breathing and watch how each breath is taking place. Keep witnessing this until the mind has calmed down (relatively speaking). Some random thoughts will keep coming to you. Let them come. You just bring your attention to your deep breathing.

 

Having thoughts is okay

6. Do not disturb your mind by trying to prevent a thought to occur or by trying to chase a thought. Let thought arise if it comes; let it pass, when they dissolve. Similarly, one thought may be dissolving while the next one is arising. Recognize this fact as the nature of the mind. It is okay. Do not artificially disturb this flow. Let it happen if this happens but make sure you keep watching every thought as they occur.

This is the first lesson of mindfulness meditation. Do not repress a thought; do not do anything at all on your part. You just be a watcher; this very act of watching is meditation.

 

Awaken

7. As you become more and more aware of your inner world (being) and your environment with all the sensation that you may be experiencing or feeling in your body, your focus sublimely shifts from your breath to witnessing.

Remember, witnessing means witnessing everything, all that there is witnessing do not filter out anything nor does it expects anything. Keep sitting and keep watching.

 

Feel the emptiness

8. As you watch, slowly and slowly, the mind will become empty of thoughts. But, if you are falling asleep, come back to the attention. Battling sleep at this deep state of relaxation is difficulty but by regularly practicing, you will overcome.

By practicing every day, you will become more alert and aware.

9. As you become regular in your practice and develop inner strength, in due time, you will also overcome most of the discomforts associated with your physical body. The only key here is to keep sitting and keep watching.

No special instruction is required. You will find your teacher within yourself. Just be consistent and persistent.

Be A King: Act Like One and You Will Be Treated Like A King

These are my 25 thoughts on being a King.

Some of them are inspired thoughts that came to me as a result of reading:

a. The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

b. Wild at Heart by John Eldredge

Both of these books are great reading and I highly recommend both (if you have not already read them).

If the following pointers spark your intellect, then do not hesitate in starting a conversation below. I would love to hear your thoughts. Enjoy, hope it helps.

will you be the king?

Be A King

Act as if you already possess what you want. It will surprise others and they’ll think that you have come a long way and “It’s in your destiny.”

 

Never be angry. Anger is a sign of insecurity. Practice calmness and self-assurance.

 

Never be arrogant. Arrogance and being confident are two opposite poles.

 

While you are a self-confident king, remember that you still RESPECT others with dignity.

 

Share people’s goals and values, but never their generality or appearance.

 

Be tolerant and accepting all, no matter what the circumstances may be. You’ll win many hearts.

 

How you carry yourself reflects what you think of yourself. And, this is how people will read you too.

 

It is within your own power to set your own price. Set the highest price.

 

Be overcome by your own self-belief. If you act like a king you are likely to be treated as one.

 

Always act differently from the mass, with a sense of nobility and dignity, no matter what the circumstances may be.

 

Our limitations are actually self-imposed. If you believe you are destined for great things, your charm will radiate outward. Others around will then only notice it and in turn, will amplify and magnify your charm.

 

Your high-expectation and super-confidence is your charm.

 

People feel comfortable in the company of bold and confident people. Be bold. 

 

If you devalue your own self-worth, it might appear amusing at first but then becomes irritating soon to the public. People want to become powerful. If you appear weak you break their hope instead of helping them build their own.

 

If you are big (larger than life), then people expect you to be a bit of showman, to have some unique, creative and confident presence.

 

Come to hold yourself in awe, never losing your self-respect and you’ll have a great destiny. Never show doubt.

 

Always keep a dignified pose (even when attacked publicly or in private), as if completely unaffected. This will elevate your image. Behave as if you have all the time in the world to respond. Being unafraid of time (being extremely patient) makes you extremely powerful.

 

Always make a bold demand. By choosing a great goal in life you create an appearance of greatness.

 

Ask for more and you send a signal that you are worth a king’s ransom. Even those who turn you down respect you for your confidence and that respect will eventually pay off in ways you cannot imagine.

 

Speak less than necessary. Never advice others unless asked. Stop when asked or given hint in simple talking or amusing discussion. Never argue or debate. A king knows who he is and never argues to win others to his side.

 

If you create a mess, don’t try to fix it. If you try to fix it, you’ll only create a bigger mess. There is no mess in this Universe, only purpose and learning. Learn from the Universe. Let the Universe and time take care of your fault. All you carry from an error is a piece of learning and self-improvement. But don’t repeat or create the same mistake again.

 

Respond to all situations (related to people): by love, acceptance, gratitude, friendliness, and non-judgment. Know that, everyone wants to be loved. They all have been intolerated somewhere, judged and not-understood mostly.  If you love them they will open up. Accept them, relate to them and do not judge them.

 

Give people the hope of justice but what actually they desire most is the love. Give them the hope of love and whatever they want if they show patience. Guide them to create something valuable for the reasons they wish must appear. It will not only give them time but it will heal them. Distract them from their problems and you will eventually increase their self-worth and self-confidence.

 

To be a King, you need to rescue a Queen. Just as a queen has some choice and power over her destiny, you too have an innate power to demonstrate. Pursue the queen. Don’t fall for others on the way.

 

A king has a noble battle to fight and an adventure to live. Start loving the journey. A journey full of struggle is far more beautiful than a safe and boring home. Make the journey your school; the encounters your teachers. After you have hit your goals and have rescued the queen, you should settle for a home but only for a little while. Get the queen with you on your next adventure.

 

What belongs to you will eventually come to you, in its own time. There is no hurry. What you want to truly achieve is where you got to put the focus, time, and energy. Once clear about your goals and directions, begin the work! Expect results. But if unrewarded, don’t feel betrayed. The Universe has plans to pay you back.

The End

What do you think? Do you want to add your own thoughts to this list? Until then, stay safe. See you next time.

Alas! Not Blessed Are Those (The 12 Truths Revisited)

Not Blessed Are Those

Alas! Not blessed are the cowards, for they shall miss everything honorable in life.

 

Alas! Not blessed are the gossipers, for they shall never hear anything more than rumors.

 

Alas! Not blessed are the slumbering ones, for they shall miss the purpose of life.

 

Alas! Not blessed are the lovers of money, for they shall have too much stress and anxiety.

 

Alas! Not blessed are the fundamentalists, for they shall never experience true freedom.

 

Alas! Not blessed are the war-makers, for they shall only wound themselves, and deeply.

 

Alas! Not blessed are sexually loose, for they shall never receive the joy of true love.

 

Alas! Not blessed are the liars, for they shall be the biggest fools.

 

Alas! Not blessed are the snobs, for they shall be laughed upon, hated, and scorned.

 

Alas! Not blessed are the greedy ones, for they shall not have any true friend.

 

Alas! Not blessed are those who show-off, for they do not know their own true self.

 

Alas! Not blessed are those who have never suffered, for they don’t possess the will to life.

The 8 Beatitudes

I consider the above 12 truths as the silver rules when contrasted with the eight beatitudes (as preached by Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount.)

Matthew 5:3–10
³Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
⁴Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
⁵Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
⁶Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
⁷Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
⁸Blessed are pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
⁹Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
¹⁰Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

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Share your thoughts in the comments below.

How To Use Naked Soul Site? Blog Navigation Tips

So you have just discovered my blog and you are excited about what you are reading here. But, you have many questions and you are looking for answers without knowing where to look for them.

This post is about how to use this blog and how to find whatever you are searching for faster.

1. You have a question?

If you have a question for me or the book, please first check the FAQ page (at the bottom of the page, Site-wide).

If your question is not already covered, please message me through the Contact Page.

2. You have a suggestion Or request for me?

Please message me through the Contact Page.

3. You want to tweet something you found interesting?

Simply select (highlight) the section (< 160 char) and the SumoMe tweet app will pop-up on the screen for you to tweet or share on facebook. Test it now, it’s cool.

4. You want to share with your friends?

There are plenty of ways you can do this. You can use the Share widget (appearing Site-wide) to share on any social media or you can simply email the link. You can also bookmark this Site to come back when I post something new.

I usually post 1-2 times per week. Each post is as diverse and interesting as the Earth itself.

5. You want to guest blog on Naked Soul?

Yes, you surely can. You can email me (use Contact Page) to first tell me about your post/topic. I will reply to you using my personal email address. You can reply me back with your post and images (or any media). I’ll make the post and inform you.

Please know that sometimes due to the high incoming request volume, it may take weeks (or even months) before your post is published. Keep patience.

6. You want to know more about the Newsletters and Email Subscription?

Absolutely great idea. You should consider signing up for my weekly letter (yes, go exclusive, go VIP). Not only it tells you when there is a new post available but sometimes, I send coupons and other free goodies.

Plus, it is always a good idea to subscribe to the best blogs. Naked Soul, in my opinion, is one of the best blogs.

 

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Did you know about the free VIP pass offer to the Naked Soul Club? Subscribe your email address now and be part of this tight-knit community of lovers, readers, writers, adventures and other people just like yourself. I send great contents directly into your mailbox. Once a week. Sign up now and stay in touch!

Comments, please share with us. I would love to read it.

Naked Soul Blog Goes Live | Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!Hello friends!

The Naked Soul blog is finally online. We have just launched it. There might be few minor glitches (and that is what I need you to find out). My goal this month is to collect feedback for the website.

Tell me all about it. Do you like the colors? Do you like the font size and style? Do you think the sentences are too long? Are the paragraphs too long? Is the content interesting? Are they boring? What is your favorite page? Which page is Um..meh?

What else would you like to see on this blog? Tell me anything & everything. For next four weeks, I am all ears and I’ll make those changes at the end of November when we will finally release the blog for the rest of the world.

The purpose of the blog is threefold:

1. To do book reviews on books being written and produced by young and new writers.

2. Feature interesting, new and upcoming authors who have a following of 1000 or more.

3. To publish high quality, well researched “how-to” articles on writing, publishing, audience building, life in general, love & romance, travel & culture, and random fun topics.

If there is any topic that is particularly interesting to you, please contact me and I’ll give them higher priority!!

And, yes, Happy Halloween!!

Boooo!

8 Lessons From Surviving My 20s

Lesson from surviving my 20s

I just turned 30. Yes, I know. But, inside, I do not feel anything different. This is my first blog post on the “Grand 30” theme.

I’ll be making a few interesting posts on this topic. But first, here are the quick 8 lessons that I would like to share with you (especially those of you who are still in your teens and twenties.)

Stay Alive and Stay on the Course

I have surpassed these peeps and therefore I am doing something “right!” Extreme of anything is not good. A well-balanced, happy life is a good thing. Tupac & B.I.G (died 25), Kurt Cobain (died 27), Jimi Hendrix (died 27), Jim Morrison (died 27), Brandon Lee (died 28), Heath Ledger (died 28), Caesar Caligula (died 28).

Guess what! I am still alive. I am happy! I have survived a lot of things which could have gone wrong. Enough on this sermon. You folks are smart and know what I mean.

Fail Early and Often

The difference between an unemployed 22-year-old with debt, no girlfriend & no work experience and an unemployed 25-year-old, with no girlfriend, in debt and no work experience is basically negligible in the long run (by the time you are 30).

I wasted my year 20-22 in Delhi and Noida, which eventually led me to where I am today. Guess, my failing for two years straight opened the door to a better future.

I sold Amway for 2 years, ran Precog IT consulting company for 2 years, and taught Martial Arts for 2 years. All of this behind me is only a bag of experiences. This led to my journey into Fitness and better business know-how.

I studied and practiced Church Life, lived a Zen life and learned about all the great religions in my 20s and now I have only peace (plus zero opinion) on matters of religion, faith, the afterlife, et al.

This is like cleaning a huge clutter from my soul. Because spirituality is very deep in us, you can’t skip it. One day you have to face it. The earlier you do this, the better you’ll become in understanding other human beings.

Money Or Job is Not Happiness

Money is good, but wanting money kills happiness. Fame is good, but wanting fame kills your joy. Success is good, but wanting to be great can ruin your simplicity.
Anything good is actually good, but you wanting it, trying to “force” it in your life will basically kill your happiness!

Value True Friendship

There are many types of friends in life: one of them is like when you go away for a long time and come back, it feels like nothing changed.
This is the only kind of friends whom you can call friends. They are there, and they will be there. They like you as a whole. Rest all other kinds — do not stress too much about them.
Mostly, you build friendships over shared interests and these are most fun ones. But these are also the flakiest ones.
Whenever I left a particular church or sports or a city, I also lost all the friends whom I thought were my “true-best-friends”. These people will be quick in judgment, often immature, and shallow.
Understand, like everything else, some people come in your life and share your journey for a while and then part. It is just life.
You cannot force a friendship. This is the time, you gotta make some true friends, invest time and energy.
Make mistakes, have fun, break a few rules, watch movies all night, share music, get into fights, do all sort of things, trust me, you won’t be able to do in your 30s.

Learn a skill (Sharpen a Talent)


Your 20s is the time, when you should really, seriously, try to pick up a skill that interests you. It could be mastering jokes, playing a guitar, dance, a foreign language, anything.
Trust me, you will never regret it and you’ll never get another golden second chance.
Education is important, grades are important too, but they are not fun. You want to have a sidekick, a specific unique identifier that differentiates you.
You anyways, have no freaking clue on what you are going to do with your life, so when the time will come to date a girl, or impress a new hiring manager or being fun on a group college trips or just sitting on the airport, train, bus — this uniqueness will fuel your voice and you won’t act like some shy weirdo.
Most of us are insecure. It is human nature. Having a particular talent will pretty much guarantee that you will feel (and others around you will make you feel) that your life has worth and you mean something.
It is important to have a boosted self-esteem. Later, in life, if you survive the 20s, still alive, you won’t give much damn about these. But it is important when you are single, lonely, poor and still finding your “Self”.

Learn how to say “F***” It

Disclaimer: Okay, this might seem offensive or ridiculous to some. My apologies in advance. But, f*** you! Back to the point: Understand, that the world in general does not cares about you.
The world is a very big place with too many people in it. Everyone is trying to make something out of their time here. You cannot take their rudeness (or indifference) towards you seriously. Nor you should be afraid of unsettling a few apple carts.
Remember that you have a middle finger. The more you will use it (not in a real sense showing it to real people, but mentally), the calmer you’ll feel, the less stress or hurt you’ll bag.
Show it to things and people you do not want in your life. There are literally, asshats out there and many of them will look good and talk good. But they do not possess your best interest. Nor do they give a rat-ass about your existence.
So, f*** all, that causes you harm and insults your soul. Dismiss it altogether. You’ll be doing it billions of time and by late 20s, you’ll really know how important “fcuk” is.

You’ll Face Disappointments

You’re supposed to FAIL and NOT accomplish all of your goals. Okay, this was personally hard for me. But, over the time I realized that 20s is meant to fail (for the vast majority of us, humans. Yes, Mark Zuckerberg is actually an alien, jk).
The more you fail during this decade, the more you increase your chances of getting successful in the 30s and 40s. You are bound to fail in finance, sports, relationships and entrepreneurship, leadership, direction, etc.
During my college years, I started a student organization The Way of Qi (TWOQ) and had a big ambition for it. I left it. I tried my hands in a few business opportunities and unfortunately, I had to leave them all in the middle. Why?
Because I was making mistakes in determining what I really want? Who to take as a business partner? Where to finance my enterprise? There were just too many uncertainties and a very little experience behind me.
I had a fire in me. Having the fire in your chest in what keeps your 20s young. Let that fire burn as many things as it can. Don’t stop due to pre-judging an opportunity.
Guess what, maybe, you are one of the aliens (Zuckerberg Brotherhood) and you can become a millionaire by age 30. But, in short: fail, fail, fail. Take pride in “failing forward.”
And of course, we all know, when you fail 10 times, you also have a few decent WINs in your lap!

Set Ambitious Goals (but Accept What You Achieve)

I had set a lot of goals for myself before I reach 30. The most outrageous of them was having 1 million USD in investment & liquidity and finishing my MBA from Harvard University.
Well, I am far from both and to be honest there are at least half a dozen more which were very personal and I could not achieve them (as of today). The lesson here is by setting these outrageous goals, I got a LOT done in the process.
Instead of crossing them off at 30, now I might do them later at 31, 35, 40, 90… it doesn’t matter anymore.
When we are young, often times, we want to do things because we want to show it to others. Look, I have “it” in me. I can do it. I am somebody. But as we mature in life, we learn that the true goals of life are very personal and intimately tied to our soul’s purpose on this earth.

Turning 30

Anyways, so what am I doing next?
1. I wanted to visit all 50 US states by age 30. I have done 30 already (as of today). My new target is by the end of 2019, visit all 50 US states. (well, finishing at age 35 is not bad)
 
2. I wanted to visit all 29 states of India by 30. I did 15. Now, the new target is by end of 2020, visit all 29 Indian states. (Finishing it while I am still my 30s is not bad)
 
3. And, I added a new one. One even more outrageous and BIGGER. Visit and tour 101 countries of the world in the next 5 years. Then make a book on it featuring one story from each country and a few of the most epic photos from each country.
 
My budget for this one: < $40,000 USD. Expensive?
Not really. A lot of decent commuting cars are more expensive than it. Will I be able to do it in 10 years? I don’t know. But I am going to try! And hard!
Update from May 2019: We have made some progress. Check out my travel goals and journey so far on www.artoftravel.tips and if you are into travel and adventure, check out www.artoftravel.store.
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Your turn. How would you celebrate someone’s 30th birthday? If you have suggestions, feedback, and thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment and I will try to honor your requests.