Erotica versus Purple Prose

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The tricky part of writing ‘good’ erotica is walking that fine line – erotic poetry can easily get categorized into “crap” or can be too loud, either of which may spoil the effect. One should aim for the reader’s arousal and stimulation, through the use of subtle description and implication. Describe the most intimate of acts in a delicate way, to provide the impact of a more graphic description… Create a poem without letting one take umbrage over the ethics of poetry.

In other (read perfect) words, as one of our readers David M. Green mentioned on our contest post on the topic: “Erotica can be defined as beating around the bush without ever arriving at one’s stated destination”

Here’s a lovely example of erotica from the internet that we found extremely ‘satisfying’!

Basket of figs by Ellen Bass

Bring me your pain, love. Spread
it out like fine rugs, silk sashes,
warm eggs, cinnamon
and cloves in burlap sacks. Show me

the detail, the intricate embroidery
on the collar, tiny shell buttons,
the hem stitched the way you were taught,
pricking just a thread, almost invisible.

Unclasp it like jewels, the gold
still hot from your body. Empty
your basket of figs. Spill your wine.

That hard nugget of pain, I would suck it,
cradling it on my tongue like the slick
seed of pomegranate. I would lift it

tenderly, as a great animal might
carry a small one in the private
cave of the mouth.

If you’re turned on right now, get writing and participate in our ongoing Erotica contest now! You could write a piece that’s not just titillating but can attempt to also terrify us with some ghastly erotica. Blend genres, why not!?