The Erotic Spirit: An Anthology of Poems of Sensuality, Love, and Longing

The Erotic Spirit: An Anthology of Poems of Sensuality, Love, and Longing

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by Sam Hamill
     
 

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This extraordinary collection of poems from around the world - covering more than thirty centuries - celebrates the erotic spirit in all its forms, from the passion of sexual desire to the intense longing for spiritual union. Beginning with anonymous Egyptian love songs from the fifteenth century BCE and continuing up to works by some of today's finest

Overview

This extraordinary collection of poems from around the world - covering more than thirty centuries - celebrates the erotic spirit in all its forms, from the passion of sexual desire to the intense longing for spiritual union. Beginning with anonymous Egyptian love songs from the fifteenth century BCE and continuing up to works by some of today's finest poets, the book comprises poems from a broad range of cultural and spiritual traditions, including Greek and Roman erotica, ecstatic Sufi songs, Chinese elegies for lost lovers, and bawdy English satires. Included are erotic works by Sappho, Rumi, Petrarch, Shakespeare, and Whitman, as well as by contemporary poets such as Robert Creeley and Denise Levertov. Many of the poems are presented here in new translations by the editor.

Editorial Reviews

Donna Seaman
Hamill, poet and translator, has created a ravishing anthology of poetry celebrating the spiritual aspect of eros, the longing not only to merge one's body with another, but to join souls. This sacred eroticism, expressed in such poems as the "Song of Songs," has been experienced through the ages and around the world as a path to a perfect love, to God no less. Hamill has chosen poems from various cultures expressing this soulful passion, but he hasn't neglected the wry side of eros, that is, the often disappointing conflict between idealized desire and the complex realities of corporal love. Hamill begins with Sappho and other early Greeks and moves on to the ever-teasing Catullus and, of course, Ovid. His selections of love poems by T'ang dynasty Chinese poets and Japanese poets are either gentle or piquant, balancing the rarefied view of Buddhists with the practiced physicality of the Taoists. Sufi love poems stand in interesting contrast to such teasing British bards as Robert Herrick and Andrew Marvell, who in turn, seem quite facile in comparison to such earthy romantics as Walt Whitman and Pablo Neruda. Other poets include Charles Baudelaire, Anna Akhmatova, Denise Levertov, Robert Creeley, Lucille Clifton, and Adrienne Rich.
From the Publisher
"Hamill, poet and translator, has created a ravishing anthology of poetry celebrating the spiritual aspect of eros, the longing not only to merge one's body with another, but to join souls."—Booklist

"From the swift grip and succor of today's Dorianne Laux to the flowers-in-a-shell plums of ancient Tzu Yeh, these are voices echoing off the walls of a cave, becoming one voice, one song of eros. I've seen no better collection."—Lily Pond, editor of Yellow Silk: A Journal of the Erotic Arts

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780877739579
Publisher:
Shambhala Publications, Inc.
Publication date:
11/21/1995
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
5.27(w) x 7.61(h) x 0.90(d)

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What People are saying about this

Lily Pond
Lily Pond, editor of Yellow Silk: A Journal of the Erotic Arts
From the swift grip and succor of today's Dorianne Laux to the flowers—in—a—shell plums of ancient Tzu Yeh, these are voices echoing off the walls of a cave, becoming one voice, one song of eros. I've seen no better collection.

Meet the Author

Sam Hamill is the author of more than thirty books of poetry, essays, and translations from the classical Chinese and Japanese, ancient Greek, Latin, and other languages. He has been a recipient of fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission. He lives near Port Townsend, Washington.

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