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Unread 05-05-2019, 11:03 AM
Julie Steiner's Avatar
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: San Diego, CA, USA
Posts: 6,164

[Cross-posted with Andrew]

Mark, you make some compelling arguments. However, even if a poet were to imagine Emily Dickinson signing a media release form in addition to consenting to the encounter itself, the problem of an intensely private person's consent remains. The poet's power to imagine away any objections she might make still removes Emily's free will from the equation.

I don't see how things would be any different if the person whose intimacy and privacy were being violated were Gerard Manley Hopkins.

On RPF Poems about Sex with Emily Dickinson

Writing from a rapist’s point of view
is challenging. To prove that you can do it,
you must be strong, and force the victim through it
while readers fail to empathize with you.

It’s better to insist the rendezvous
is not a rape. That’s easy—nothing to it.
Just claim the victim loves it. Or say, “Screw it,
it’s just a fantasy. It isn’t true.”

It’s just a harmless exercise in fiction.
In fighting censorship and slippery slopes.
In freedom of expression. In the art
of making art. In pushing envelopes.
In breaking every fetter and restriction
except the one that's hindering your heart.

RPF = Real person fantasy, a genre similar to fan fiction.

Title was "Celebrity Sex Poem"
L1 had "the rapist's"
L3 was "your fortitude must force the victim through it"
L14 was "except the one that's cutting off your heart"

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 05-05-2019 at 07:56 PM. Reason: Tweaks; thanks to Susan for the fanfic observation
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Unread 05-05-2019, 11:21 AM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 1,871

Originally Posted by Julie Steiner View Post
I don't see how things would be any different if the person whose intimacy and privacy were being violated were Gerard Manley Hopkins.
It isn't. But the poem could work if done as an implicit or explicit critique at the heart of sexism in the sex with Emily poems.
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Unread 05-05-2019, 11:23 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Iowa City, IA, USA
Posts: 8,319

Good poem, Julie. Your mention of fiction in it reminds me of the phenomenon of fan fiction, in which such fantasies are rampant, though I guess those are mainly focused on invented characters rather than on actual people. That element takes some of the sting out of it, though I think the original author would still have a case that his or her intellectual property is being appropriated against his or her will.

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Unread 05-05-2019, 12:24 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Staffordshire, England
Posts: 3,279

Well. My apologies for starting the thread. I should have listened to the person who told me to delete it.
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