DEADLINE: FEBRUARY 15th
We are looking for Poetry & Art submissions for a special Sex-themed issue, guest edited by Chicago poetry maven, Emily Rose Kahn-Sheahan.
Emily Rose Kahn-Sheahan is a Chicago-born and raised poet, performer and host of many things. Named by TimeOut as one of Chicago’s Cultural Curators, she is currently a Real Talk Avenue Artist, co-slammaster and host of the Mental Graffiti Poetry Slam, Jilted Emily Rose at The Encyclopedia Show, and Tournament Director for Louder Than a Bomb. Her first chapbook, Cigarette Love Songs and Nicotine Kisses (Cross+Roads Press), was published in 2004. Her work has appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, After Hours, TimeOut Chicago, and more. Emily Rose probably already likes you.
by Emily Rose Kahn-Sheahan, Guest Editor
“Everything in the world is about sex except sex.” – Oscar Wilde
The common scientific and religious assumption is that sex is the biological answer to the evolutionary need to reproduce. For me, sex is a large part of the human condition, a drive and activity that occupies a significant amount of our thoughts and lives.
Shame is the enemy of honesty, the demon that decides that your sexual needs and wants are bad or dirty when they are simply part of you, another dimension of self. Sex poems venture into the human heart where desire meets self and invites other people in. The sex act itself is nuanced by relationship, context, tone, history and every other facet of a given moment.
There is sex and there is the erotic. Not all writing about sex is necessarily erotic. Sometimes sex is about family, relationships, trauma and the reasons we seek pleasure. I am interested in the ways people talk about sex in the context of their larger human experience. We all make choices, sexually and otherwise, to serve different needs. These needs, to me, are at the core of our wishing, our urge to complete, the mechanisms of comfort. Sex is only biological when practiced for the purpose of reproduction. In this instance, the desire to reproduce, to me, is the poem, is the heart, is the need.
Because sex is so very common and weighted by norms, it tends to come with a pre-approved vocabulary and set of moral standards. I love poems that defy those standards and make their own vocabulary, poems that use sex as a lens through which to understand ourselves and our relationships, poems that want to communicate the human as a wanting creature.
For more on writing about sex, check out Emily Rose's article "Go Deeper: Writing Sex Without Shame" in Union Station.