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Edited by Rachel Piercey and Emma Wright

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Forget the Game and give the Rules a miss: you have in your hands the only textbook you will ever need in matters of the boudoir, bedroom, and heart.

How to seduce. How to fall in love. How to execute the ‘arctic chandelier’ without causing yourself an injury. No aspect of your physical and emotional wellbeing is neglected in this dependable compendium of didactic poems, tailored to the needs of students of all abilities.

Fifteen poets provide encouragement and guidance to beginners and experts alike, channelling the spirit of the Roman poet Ovid’s Ars Amatoria (The Art of Lovemaking) and Remedia Amoris (The Cure for Love).

You can read a discussion of one of the poems, 52 Card Pickup’, over on Poem Club.

Paperback ISBN 978 0 9574596 3 2
Publication date: 28th January 2014
Page count: 64
Price: £10 (paperback)

Buy-now-button

 

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Reviews

‘The best teachers were the ones who wove something of themselves into class, so that the lesson could only have been given by them.  And the most memorable poems in the Primer break down the big themes to an individual moment, a nuanced angle; they know something more.’ – Angelina Ayers, Sabotage Reviews

‘[…] these poems are often brief, vivid snapshots of sex and love, refusing to pigeonhole erotica as one thing or another. A pleasant cacophony of voices come together to describe the messy complications when any two people slip between the sheets. ‘ – Zoe Apostolides, Erotic Review

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About the editors

Rachel and EmmaRachel Piercey (pictured, left) is a former editor at The Cadaverine magazine and a current editor at the Emma Press. She studied English Literature at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, where she won the Newdigate Prize in 2008. Her illustrated pamphlet of love poems, The Flower and the Plough, was published by the Emma Press in 2013 and her second pamphlet, Rivers Wanted, in 2014.

Emma Wright (pictured, right) studied Classics at Brasenose College, Oxford. She worked in ebook production at Orion Publishing Group before leaving to set up the Emma Press in 2012. In 2015 she toured the UK with the Myths and Monsters poetry tour for children, supported with funding from Arts Council England as part of the Lottery-funded Grants for the Arts programme. She lives in Birmingham.

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About the poets

Jo Brandon was raised in Lincolnshire and is currently based in London. She works part-time for the Poetry Society and is former General Editor of Cadaverine magazine. Her pamphlet, Phobia, was published by Valley Press in 2012 and her writing has featured in publications including Poetry Review, Aesthetica, Dream Catcher and Cake. She can be found online at www.jobrandon.com

John Canfield grew up in Cornwall and now lives in London. His poems have appeared in magazines and anthologies including Oxford Poetry, Transom, Newspaper Taxis and Coin Opera II. He trained as an actor, but due to a clerical error currently works in an accounts department.

Jade Cuttle is currently reading French and Russian at Homerton College, Cambridge University. She won Foyle Young Poet of the Year awards in 2010 and 2012, and second place in the 2011 Ledbury Poetry Festival Competition. She was invited to read at Ledbury Festival, and has recently performed in Parliament.

Amy Key was born in Dover and grew up in Kent and the North East. She now lives and works in London. She co-edits the online journal Poems in Which. Her pamphlet Instead of Stars was published by tall-lighthouse press in 2009. Her debut collection Luxe was published by Salt in November 2013.

Anja Konig was raised in the German language and now writes in English. Her work has appeared in magazines in the UK and the US, including Poetry Review, Poetry London, Smiths Knoll, Magma, The Stand, Cimarron Review, and The Washington Square Review.

Cheryl Moskowitz is a US born, UK based poet, translator and novelist. Her poems have been published in literary journals including Poetry Review, Magma, Artemis and US magazines Drunken Boat and World Literature Today. Her books include a novel, Wyoming Trail (Granta), poems for children, Can it Be About Me (Frances Lincoln) and a poetry collection The Girl is Smiling (Circle Time Press).

Richard O’Brien’s first pamphlet, your own devices, appeared in 2009 on tall-lighthouse press and his second, The Emmores, has just been published by the Emma Press. His work has featured in Poetry London, the Erotic Review, and The Salt Book of Younger Poets. His blog, The Scallop-Shell, is dedicated to the close reading of contemporary poetry.

Andrew Wynn Owen is reading for a BA in English at Magdalen College, Oxford. He is a former winner of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award (2008, 2009, 2010), the Ledbury Poetry Competition (2011), The Times Stephen Spender Prize for poetry translation (2011), and The Richard Selig Prize (2013). He is currently Secretary of the Oxford University Poetry Society. His first pamphlet, Raspberries for the Ferry, was published by the Emma Press in March 2014.

Abigail Parry worked as a toymaker for several years, and is now completing a PhD on play in contemporary poetry. Her work has appeared in Poetry London, The Rialto, Ambit and Magma, and also in various anthologies. She received an Eric Gregory Award in 2010.

Rachel Piercey was President of the Oxford University Poetry Society and won the Newdigate Prize in 2008. She is currently an editor at Cadaverine magazine and her illustrated pamphlet of love poems, The Flower and the Plough, was published by the Emma Press in January 2013.

Christopher Reid’s most recent book is Six Bad Poets. Among his earlier publications, A Scattering was declared Costa Book of the Year 2009, while The Song of Lunch became a BBC2 film starring Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson.

Jacqueline Saphra’s first pamphlet, Rock ’n’ Roll Mamma, was published by Flarestack and her first full collection, The Kitchen of Lovely Contraptions (flipped eye), was developed with funding from Arts Council England and nominated for The Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. An illustrated book of prose poems is forthcoming from The Emma Press in 2014.

Liane Strauss is the author of Leaving Eden (Salt Publishing, 2010) and Frankie, Alfredo, (Donut Press, 2009), a guest poet on the Clive James website and Head of Poetry, Creative Writing, at Birkbeck College. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies in the UK and the US.

Nicola Warwick was born in Kent and currently lives in Suffolk, where she regularly attends a poetry café in Ipswich. She has had poems in magazines and anthologies and is currently working on her first collection while undertaking a mentoring scheme with Jan Fortune of  Cinnamon Press.

Ruth Wiggins lives in East London with her partner and three sons. Her work has appeared in UK magazines and anthologies, and has been commended in recent competitions. Her first pamphlet will be published later this year by the Emma Press. A book of her images of women dressed as super heroes (see here) was also published in 2008.

The Adventures of Na Willa
By Reda Gaudiamo
ISBN 978-1-910139-59-2

A collection of stories following Na Willa, a bright and adventurous little girl growing up in Surabaya, Indonesia.

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When It Rains
By Rassi Narika
ISBN 978-1-910139-63-9

Kira joins her friends Ana and Ilo for an adventure in the rain.

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Dragons of the Prime
Edited by Richard O’Brien
ISBN 978-1-912915-05-7

An anthology of poems for children about the fascinating world of dinosaurs.

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Everything That Can Happen: The Emma Press Book of Future Poems
Edited by Suzannah Evans and Tom Sastry
ISBN 9781910139523

Poems about the near and distant future.

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The Girl Who Learned All the Languages of the World
By Ieva Flamingo
ISBN 9781912915095

Join Lela on her journey to learn all the languages of the world, one word at a time…

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Elastic Glue
By Kathy Pimlott
ISBN 978-1-912915-07-1

Poems about inner-city living and allotments.

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Wain
Poems for teens by Rachel Plummer
ISBN 978-1-910139-47-9

A collection of LGBT themed children’s poetry based on retellings of Scottish myths.

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Second Place Rosette
Edited by Emma Wright and Richard O’Brien
ISBN 9781910139554

A collection of poems about the customs, rituals and practices that make up life in modern Britain.

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The Dog Who Found Sorrow
A picture book by Rūta Briede & Elīna Brasliņa
ISBN 9781910139547

The story of a dog who wakes to find his hometown covered in thick black clouds and goes out in search of the source.

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The Head That Wears A Crown
Edited by Rachel Piercey and Emma Wright
ISBN 9781910139769

A children’s poetry anthology featuring the Kings and Queens of the British Isles.

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Bicki-Books
Picture books by Arnolds Auziņš, Janis Baltvilks, Pēters Brūveris, Herberts Dobre, Valdis Grenkovs, and Maija Laukmane

A collectible series of six pocket-sized picture books featuring modern nursery rhymes.

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Some Cannot Be Caught
Edited by Anja Konig and Liane Strauss
ISBN 978‑1‑910139‑88‑2

These poems rustle and roar with the voices of animals and humans, coexisting on Earth.

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In Transit
Edited by Sarah Jackson and Tim Youngs
ISBN 978-1-910139-94-3

Whether sailing in a stately cruise liner or running for a grimy commuter train, this book is a companion for the journey.

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Once Upon a Time in Birmingham
Stories by Louise Palfreyman
ISBN 978-1-910139-51-6

A lively introduction to thirty of Birmingham’s most awe-inspiring women, past and present.

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Everyone’s the Smartest
By Contra & Ulla Saar
ISBN 978-1-910139-99-8

Everyone’s the Smartest is a collection of poems which tell strange new stories in familiar school settings. Translated from Estonian.

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Anthology of Love
Edited by Rachel Piercey and Emma Wright
ISBN 978‑1‑910139‑56‑1

Fifty-six poets speak to what love means to them right here, right now.

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Bezdelki
By Carol Rumens
ISBN 978‑1‑910139‑80‑6

Elegies for a late partner which explore the principle that death, even for atheists, isn’t purely loss.

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Queen of Seagulls
By Rūta Briede
ISBN 978‑1‑910139‑13‑4

A story of seagulls, music, mystery, and true love. A picture book for all ages. Translated from Latvian.

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The Book of Clouds
By Juris Kronbergs
ISBN 978‑1‑910139‑14‑1

A mix of dreamy fantasy and scientific fact in these poems introduce children to the world of clouds. Translated from Latvian.

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Paisley
By Rakhshan Rizwan
ISBN 978-1-910139-78-3

Rakhshan Rizwan unpacks class and identity in the context of Pakistan and South Asia.

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Birmingham Jazz Incarnation
By Simon Turner
ISBN 978-1-910139-86-8

Simon Turner decomposes and recomposes one poem.

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Now You Can Look
By Julia Bird, illustrated by Anna Vaivare
ISBN 978-1-910139-84-4

The story of a woman who takes one glance at conventional early-twentieth-century life, and throws in her lot with art instead.

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The Secret Box
By Daina Tabūna
ISBN 978-1-910139-90-5

A collection of three coming-of-age stories about young women. Translated from Latvian.

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The Noisy Classroom
By Ieva Flamingo
ISBN 978-1-910139-82-0

Poems for children which capture the emotional highs and lows of childhood with a sharp, surreal eye and a touching sympathy. Translated from Latvian.

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Postcard Stories
By Jan Carson
ISBN 978-1-910139-68-4

Every day in 2015, Jan Carson wrote a story on the back of a postcard and mailed it to a friend. This is a collection of the highlights.

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Pisanki
By Zosia Kuczyńska
ISBN 978-1-910139-72-1

In 1940, a young girl is taken from her home in Eastern Poland. Seventy years later, her journey is reimagined by her granddaughter.

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Who Seemed Alive & Altogether Real
By Padraig Regan
ISBN 978-1-910139-74-5

Padraig Regan’s poems delight in the sensual and visual, and are alive with the textures of paint, sugar and overripe fruit.

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Meat Songs
By Jack Nicholls
ISBN 978-1-910139-62-2

The voices of humans and animals clamour for attention in Meat Songs.

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Dragonish
By Emma Simon
ISBN 978-1-910139-64-6

Loss, love and various severed body parts are scattered throughout Dragonish.

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Anthology of Aunts
Edited by Rachel Piercey and Emma Wright
ISBN 978-1-910139-66-0

Poems which explores what it means to be – and feels like to have – an aunt.

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First fox
By Leanne Radojkovich
ISBN 978-1-910139-70-7

A collection of short stories set in an everyday world tinged with the dreamlike qualities of fairy tales.

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9781910139585

The Dragon and the Bomb
By Andrew Wynn Owen
ISBN 978-1-910139-58-5

A long poem about a man who wants to be a saint and an alchemist who wants to split the atom.

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9781910139608

This Is Not Your Final Form: Poems about Birmingham
ISBN 978-1-910139-60-8

A tough, unsentimental love letter to Birmingham.

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Anthology of the Sea

The Emma Press Anthology of the Sea
Edited by Eve Lacey
ISBN 978-1-910139-45-5

Poems which bear witness to storms, naval history, ocean creatures and the human desire for freedom.

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Space and Aliens

Watcher of the Skies: Poems about Space and Aliens
ISBN 978-1-910139-43-1

Poems about the outermost possibilities of space. Aimed at children aged 8+.

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Moon Juice

Moon Juice: Poems for Children
By Kate Wakeling
ISBN 978-1-910139-49-3

Kate Wakeling’s poems are full of curious characters and strange situations. Aimed at children 8+.

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Urban Myths and Legends

Urban Myths and Legends
Edited by Rachel Piercey and Emma Wright
ISBN 978-1-910139-24-0

Poems by modern poets who have taken inspiration from the Metamorphoses.

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Mackerel Salad

Mackerel Salad
By Ben Rogers
ISBN 978-1-910139-41-7

The poems of Mackerel Salad lure the reader into disorientating situations, via space and sea.

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Trouble

Trouble
By Alison Winch
ISBN 978-1-910139-39-4

Alison Winch looks at different kinds of intimacy via nightingales, betting shops, and the Canterbury Tales.

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Goose Fair Night

Goose Fair Night
By Kathy Pimlott
ISBN 978-1-910139-35-6

Pimlott take us on a tour of the Midlands, bustling London and the seaside.

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DISSOLVE to: L.A.

DISSOLVE to: L.A.
By James Trevelyan
ISBN 978-1-910139-37-0

Poems about minor characters in 1980s and 90s action films.

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Mildly Erotic Verse

Mildly Erotic Verse
ISBN 978-1-910139-34-9

An anthology which celebrates modern eroticism in all its messy, sexy glory.

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Malkin

Malkin
By Camille Ralphs
ISBN 978-1-910139-30-1

A sequence of poems set during the 1612 Pendle witch trials.

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True Tales of the Countryside

True Tales of the Countryside
By Deborah Alma
ISBN 978-1-910139-26-4

Poems about sex, love and ageing in rural Shropshire and Wales.

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AWOL

AWOL
By John Fuller and Andrew Wynn Owen
With illustrations by Emma Wright
ISBN 978-1-910139-28-8

Letter poems on the subject of travel, between John Fuller and Andrew Wynn Owen.

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The Emma Press Anthology of Age

The Emma Press Anthology of Age
Edited by Sarah Hesketh
ISBN 978-1-910139-31-8

A collection of poems which challenge, celebrate and give age a voice.

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Slow Things

Slow Things
Edited by Rachel Piercey and Emma Wright
ISBN 978-1-910139-16-5

An anthology which celebrates taking life at a leisurely pace.

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Falling Out of the Sky

Falling Out Of The Sky
Edited by Rachel Piercey and Emma Wright
ISBN 978-1-910139-18-9

A treasury of poems about myths, legends and fairytales. Aimed at children 9+.

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Anthology of Dance

The Emma Press Anthology of Dance
ISBN 978 1 910139 15 8

What makes us start dancing? Why do we ever stop?

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Campaign in Poetry

Campaign in Poetry
Edited by Rachel Piercey and Emma Wright
ISBN 978 1 910139 02 8

A powerful anthology about political and social issues in the UK.

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Best Friends Forever

Best Friends Forever
Edited by Amy Key
ISBN 978 1 910139 07 3

A celebration of the transformative power of female friendship.

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Myrtle

Myrtle
By Ruth Wiggins
ISBN 978-1-910139-05-9

Poems celebrating the primal forces of nature and the human heart.

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If I Lay on my Back I Saw Nothing but Naked Women

If I Lay on my Back I Saw Nothing but Naked Women
By Jacqueline Saphra
With illustrations by Mark Andrew Webber
ISBN 978-1-910139-06-6

An eerie, sensuous world of eccentric parents and step-parents.

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Rivers Wanted

Rivers Wanted
By Rachel Piercey
ISBN 978-1-910139-04-2

A frequently heart-breaking collection of poems about love, identity and home.

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Oils

Oils
By Stephen Sexton
ISBN 978-1-910139-03-5

Stephen Sexton’s poems pulse with melancholy. A PBS Pamphlet Choice Award winner.

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Homesickness and Exile

Homesickness and Exile
Edited by Rachel Piercey and Emma Wright
ISBN 978 1 910139 02 8

How does it feel to be a foreigner? Can you choose where you call home?

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The Dead Snail Diaries

The Dead Snail Diaries
By Jamie McGarry
ISBN 978 0 9574596 9 4

A collection of observational poems and literary parodies which explore snail culture.

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The Emma Press Anthology of Fatherhood

The Emma Press Anthology of Fatherhood
Edited by Rachel Piercey and Emma Wright
ISBN 978 1 910139 00 4

A collection of poems about fathers and fatherhood.

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Captain Love and the Five Joaquins

Captain Love and the Five Joaquins
By John Clegg
ISBN 978 1 910139 01 1

An adventure story about bounty hunter Harry Love and a head in a jar.

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Ikhda, by Ikhda

Ikhda, by Ikhda
By Ikhda Ayuning Maharsi
ISBN 978 0 9574596 6 3

Characters and landscapes leap off every page in Ikhda Ayuning Maharsi’s dazzling first pamphlet.

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Raspberries for the Ferry
By Andrew Wynn Owen
ISBN 978 0 9574596 5 6

A stunning debut pamphlet of gorgeous, tart, juicy poems grounded in the past and bubbling with modern verve.

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The Held and the Lost

The Held and the Lost
By Kristen Roberts
ISBN 978 0 9574596 8 7

Kristen Roberts sketches portraits of characters and relationships in her debut pamphlet.

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Anthology of Motherhood

The Emma Press Anthology of Motherhood
Edited by Rachel Piercey and Emma Wright
ISBN 978-0-9574596-7-0

A moving collection of poems about mothers and the state of motherhood.

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The Emmores

The Emmores
By Richard O’Brien
ISBN 978-0-9574596-4-9

Richard O’Brien deploys every trick in the love poet’s book in this irresistible mix of tender odes, introspective sonnets and exuberant free verse.

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A Poetic Primer for Love and Seduction

A Poetic Primer for Love and Seduction
Edited by Rachel Piercey and Emma Wright
ISBN 978 0 9574596 3 2

The Poetic Primer is an instructional anthology containing all you need to know about love, relationships and heartbreak.

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The Emma Press Anthology of Mildly Erotic VerseThe Emma Press Anthology of Mildly Erotic Verse
Edited by Rachel Piercey and Emma Wright
ISBN 978 0 9574596 2 5

READ MORE / OUT OF PRINT (See Mildly Erotic Verse)

The Flower and the Plough

The Flower and the Plough

By Rachel Piercey
ISBN 978-0-9574596-0-1

Love poems which capture everything from the extravagant surrender of early love to the raw ache and pain that can follow.

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I thought that the Anthology of Mildly Erotic Verse would be my first erotic publication, but quite a few people have observed that the title of The Flower and the Plough is pretty erotic too, along with some of the poems within. Embarrassingly, this hadn’t occurred to me at all, but since working on the Erotic Anthology I’ve become a lot more alert to potential erotic content and if anything I’ve gone too far the other way, seeing eroticism in everything.

So far, the best submissions for the anthology have done exactly what I asked for in my brief and surprised me, both with their treatment of all matters erotic and in their interpretation of what can be erotic in the first place. It’s not that I equate eroticism with novelty, but it’s hard to be excited when you know exactly how that flower metaphor is going to unfold. None of that in The Anthology of Mildly Erotic Verse, which is shaping up to be an utter delight. I can’t wait to start sharing it with everyone in September, but until then here are four things I didn’t expect to be erotic, either to me or other people. Then roll on September, when you’ll never look at wolves or peanut butter or cassette tapes in the same way again.

 

7 Minutes In Heaven with Mike O’Brien, guest starring Patricia Clarkson

All of Mike O’Brien’s videos in this series are gold, so funny and charming and always surprising. O’Brien takes the central premise of the American high-school sleepover game and expands the scope of what one can get up to within a cupboard (mini dramas, hard-hitting interviews, musical breaks) while clinging doggedly to the original and best occupation. He gets the best out of all his guests, whether they’re comedians or just celebrities, and the humour is never uncomfortable or cruel. I love the ones with Seth Meyers, Amy Poehler and Kristen Wiig, but for sheer and incredible eroticism you have to watch the Patricia Clarkson episode. It is sexy and hilarious. ‘Are you really gonna kiss me?’

The photo of John Steinbeck on the Kindle screensaver.

Obviously the worst author portrait in the Kindle screensaver series is Emily Dickinson. No-one wants to pick up their Kindle and see her massive black eyes staring out at them. When I worked in ebook production and carried a Kindle around with me, the usual reaction to Emily Dickinson was to shudder and flip the switch, except for one time when I was told by a co-worker instead to ‘stick it on that saucy little picture of John Steinbeck.’ Sorry, what?

Gene Kelly in a bodysuit in An American In Paris

 

 

 

 

 

Gene Kelly didn’t immediately strike me as an attractive man when I first watched his films as a teenager. He was sturdy and safe, jolly and enterprising, which somehow didn’t add up to hotness when I was fifteen. However, there was this disturbing bit in An American In Paris where Kelly recreates a Toulouse Lautrec drawing and does a waggly kind of dance which irresistibly recalls Ned Flanders in a ski suit.

Tegan’s eyebrows in the music video for Closer

Eroticism is all in the tiny details.

One of my main motivations in setting up the Emma Press was to create the means by which I could bring great writing to a wider audience. As soon as I read Rachel’s poems I wanted to package them up appealingly and tell everyone to read them, and I’m looking for the same response in myself to submissions for the Erotic Anthology. Once I’ve found something I love, I want to share it with as many people as possible. With that in mind I give you … five terribly romantic and wonderful things.

A book: The Morning Gift, by Eva Ibbotson

Don’t be put off by the classic ‘random girl’ YA cover and don’t read the blurb on the publisher’s website. Or rather, you can read the blurb but before you start thinking this is just another romance, with a marriage of convenience which unsurprisingly turns out to be more than that, consider one thing: it’s by Eva Ibbotson. Eva Ibbotson didn’t do trashy romances set against the dramatic backdrop of whatever. Eva Ibbotson wrote uniformly magnificent novels spiked with pathos and wit. Her children’s books are a riot, and her adult romances possibly the best ever written. They’re all amazing, but The Morning Gift is my absolute favourite, possibly because the story was closest to the author’s heart (the historical setting is somewhat autobiographical) and this really comes through.

A music video: Elephant Gun, directed by Alma Har’el

I must have watched this at least thirty times. I love the song by Beirut, but oh my god the video. It’s a Bacchanalian fantasy full of loose-limbed dancers, antique maps, elephant masks and people falling over. All the dancers are stripped down to their braces and shirtsleeves or petticoats and stockings, and Zach Condon is sporting an exquisite bouffant hairdo. It’s exuberant, bonkers fun and utterly beautiful.

A song: Cherish, by the Four Tops

I first came to this song through Glee, but it was combined with a Madonna song such in a way that excised all the best lines. I didn’t begin to really love it until I found this heartbreaking version by the Four Tops, with backing vocals from the Andantes.

A poem: Symbiosis, by Rachel Piercey

It’s hard not to make judgements about people depending on which poems they like best from The Flower and the Plough. I’m probably offensively wrong 100% of the time, but it does seem like Symbiosis is especially popular with people in happy, stable relationships (that’s a nice judgement, so it’s ok to make, right?). Or it could just be that it’s a lovely poem and people are responding to that. Either way, it’s gorgeous and we made a video so people could enjoy it aurally as well as visually.

A bar: Bobby’s Bar, Bob Bob Ricard, Soho

I believe you can create a romantic atmosphere anywhere, though it helps if you have the right lighting (dim), furniture (sturdy, high-quality materials) and background noise (definitely some, though hushed). Bobby’s Bar helpfully provides all three, along with friendly staff who take your coat like you’re royalty even if you’re wearing a moth-eaten jacket and a too-short skirt. It taketh with the other hand, however, by being incredibly pricey (£10.50 for a cocktail).

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If you want to read more romantic things, try matching the lovers to the love letter in a quiz.

** The webshop is on holiday! If you order some books now, I'll dispatch them on 25th July ** Dismiss