The World Began With Yes

The World Began With Yes

by Erica Jong


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Erica Jong has never stopped writing poetry. It was her first love and it has provided inspiration for all her other books. In a dark time, she celebrates life. Her title comes from the Brazilian genius Clarice Lispector who was deeply in love with life despite many tragedies. Life challenges us to celebrate even when our very existence is threatened. Never have we needed poetry more. Jong believes that the poet sees the world in a grain of sand and eternity in a wild flower—as Blake wrote. Her work has always stressed the importance of the lives of women, women’s creativity, and self-confidence. She sees her role as a writer as inspiring future poets to come.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781597098465
Publisher: Red Hen Press
Publication date: 04/16/2019
Pages: 96
Sales rank: 786,205
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Erica Jong is a celebrated poet, novelist & essayist with over twenty-five published books that have been influential all over the world. Her most popular novel, Fear of Flying, celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2013. Never out of print, it has sold over thirty-five million copies in forty-two languages including Chinese and Arabic. Erica’s latest novel, Fear of Dying,was published in 2015/2016 with many publishers all over the world. Her awards include the Fernanda Pivano Award for Literature in Italy (named for the critic who introduced Ernest Hemingway, Allen Ginsberg, and Erica Jong to the Italian public), the Sigmund Freud Award in Italy, the Deauville Literary Award in France, the United Nations Award for Excellence in Literature, and Poetry Magazine’s Bess Hokin Prize (also won by Sylvia Plath and W.S. Merwin). Erica’s poetry has appeared in publications worldwide, including The New Yorker, L.A. Times, The Paris Review, Haaretz, and many more. Erica lives in New York and Connecticut with her husband and two poodles.

Read an Excerpt


Girls love them

even before they yearn

for that twisted ivory horn.

Wistful for what

they never knew,

they braid

the rainbow hair

of tiny Unicorns.

Yet the Bible

makes them

symbols of strength.

Were they Aurochs

or Elasmotheria,

now extinct?

Why did God remind

Job of his own creation

of beasts

when Job was at his


Did HA-SHEM mean

that animals are stronger

than those who worship them?

You Bet!

& Maidens who gaze

upon Unicorns

as Unicorns

gaze upon them

are the fiercest girls

in the red tent.

Come, then, with me

to my own museum

in Paris,

the Cluny:

Musee du Moyen Age,

& see the Unicorn

gazing at his comely Horn

in my Maiden's Mirror,

while she dreams

erotic dreams—

all tapestry—


the five senses:

Touch, taste, smell,

hearing, sight.

Our Maiden feeds

both Lion & Unicorn,

forms of desire.

No wonder the

tapestry exults

À Mon Seul Désir!

What more

could Maidens want

than the everlasting

hardness of the Unicorn,

tail upstanding,

supplicant to her


hooves in her honied lap,

eating sweetly

from her cupped hand?

Oh Unicorn,

come to me

from your red

forest of love

& drink

my poetry—

The true trace

of my Virginity . . .

Of course

there are more

than five senses!

Knowledge of

Future, Past,

Poetry, Song, Colors,

Stars & Planets.

Stay, fragile Earth

for Bette,

my granddaughter,

that she may know,

the Unicorn of Love

& Longing,

the Unicorn

of Work & Worship,

The Unicorn

of Springing

Hooved Imagination!

The Unicorn

that licks

her little


That nuzzles

her pink neck,

that kisses

her brown/blue

eyes, that

lies down

with languor

& longing.

Unicorns are

hardly symbols,

but lovers of our

Little Ones!

Gentle, gentle

Unicorn, come

to my study

in the green,

teach my darling girl

to grow

with Fantasy &


Plenty & Poetrys . . .

That’s all she needs.

Table of Contents

The World Began With Yes 13

The Breathing Of The World 15

Child On The Beach 16

Oracle Of Light 18

Unicorns 20

Acupuncturist 25

News 26

Blue Bird, Red Bird 27

Child's Play 28

"Be Careful Darkness" 29

Day Of Atonement 30

Brief Valentine 32

Connoisseur Of Longing 33

Hats 34

Inside Out 36

One 37

Love To His Soul 38

New Theory Of Love 40

Where The Poem Comes From- 41

Emily's Birthday 42

Emily Dickinson: A New Daguerreotype 44

Poetry Is Better Than Xanax 46

Spanking 48

Visible/Invisible 50

Why I Hate The News 52

Your Eggs 54

Writing Poetry Again 55

The Mental Traveller 65

The Danish Poet 66

What Is Love? 68

Facebook Friend 69

Not A Bot 70

On Hearing That Alice Munro Is Now A Stamp 71

The Wish Not Heard 72

Breasts 74

Dying Is Not Black 76

Almost Dying 78

Not With A Bang But A Whimper 80

The World 84

Her Death 85

Taking The Train 86

Prophet's Storm 87

Speaking With The Dead 88

Breath's End 90


Vanessa Daou and Erica Jong on the Making of the Electronica Classic Zipless

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