Thursday, June 30, 2016

We’re Bringing Sexy Back

With a rough tongue : femmes write porn edited by Amber Dawn and Trish Kelly.

There is a certain ick factor to borrowing erotica from a public library I know, but I’ve seen the stats on copies of 50 Shades so I gather it isn’t a complete deal-breaker for everyone. And if it is a deal-breaker for you, you may just want to buy this one; it’s that good. First, I’d like to confess my undying love for Amber Dawn. She is an amazing queer, feminist, Canadian author. Her book, How poetry saved my life : a hustler's memoir, rocked my world when it was published a few years ago. Dawn didn’t just co-compile this great collection but lent her stellar writing skills to the project as well. Yes, “femmes write porn,” but they don’t leave out a butch perspective. And as someone who doesn’t identify as either butch or femme, I found the challenging of traditional gender roles throughout the collection, to be quite inclusive overall.

Containing outstanding authors, Nalo Hopkinson, Anna Camilleri, and Zoe Whittall, to name just a few, this book of erotica comes with serious literary merit. I was shocked at how many stories were sexy, smart, engaging, and subversive. I’m a non-linear person in general so when I get a book of short stories I love to skip around. After the first three stories I read were fantastic I thought I must have just serendipitously selected the best/only good stories in the book as I’ve come to be skeptical that there isn’t much queer erotica out there worth reading. I continued my pessimistic search and with each new story assumed this was the one that would let me down, but instead, each story stood up to my scrutiny. Cover to cover this book is worth the read, regardless of your gender identity or sexual preference.

There is another queer erotica collection in our catalogue, Fist of the spider woman : tales of fear &; queer desire which is less good in my opinion, and yes my girl is also the editor. However, if you enjoy being creeped out and/or confronting, reappropriating, and reclaiming past sexual trauma this one might work for ya. In some ways it reminded me of watching old Hammer Films, with an unsettling mix of confusion, amusement, and sexuality, you’re left not quite knowing how to feel.

Trash by Dorothy Allison (another great feminist author) has some erotic gems in it as well, and like Rough Tongue it comes with proven literary excellence. “Her thighs,” and “Demon lover” are some of my personal faves from this collection. And for the love of old school lesbianism, portrayed as forbidden love, please check out the classic lesbian pulp novel , if you haven’t yet.
Odd Girl Out by Ann Bannon

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