From Shakespeare's sonnets to Japanese Haikus, we all know that poetry is the literature of love. But do the poets have lustier moments? Do they ever think about sex? In this collection, New Zealand's most well loved poets give a great grunt in the affirmative. They tackle sex from every angle. Sex can be funny (C K Stead's "tree in my trousers") or disturbing (Rachel McAlpine's "scary poem about my breasts"). It can be ordinary ("The sex life of the sheep is at best perfunctory," Anne French explains) or extraordinary ("you are not what you were before we knew each other," writes Charles Brasch). It can by lusty (Vincent O'Sullivan's "panty pirate") or tender (Anne Kennedy's "whole Autumn boiled down to a single bite"). It can be metaphorical (Baxter's "your mouth was the sun") or practical ("should a courier hand be sent down under" asks Louis Johnson). By the end of the collection, some poets have had enough of all this nonsense. "Altogether we've come to the conclusion that sex is a drag. Just give us a fag" writes Fleur Adcock. But for many of New Zealand's poets-and many readers-sex remains a great subject for literature and for life. This collection shows why.
Editor and poet Stu Bagby (known to some as the gravedigger poet) was born in Te Koporu in 1947. His work made up one third of AUP New Poets 2 and has published a solo collection As It Was in the Beginning (Steele Roberts) that was nominated by the Sunday Star Times as one of the best books of 2005. He was the winner of the 2000 New Zealand Poetry Society's International Poetry Competition.