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Poetry or pornography?

With the launch of my second poetry chapbook, Love and Fuck Poems, approaching, I thought it timely to write a post to hopefully generate some discussion about poetry and pornography, and the fine line between the two – or can they be the same thing? It’s a question that’s been dancing in my mind the last six months. Before that time the thought never crossed my mind to explore this kind of poetry. But then I was introduced to a poet named Ben John Smith, editor of Horror Sleaze Trash and suddenly my poetry world was expanded to new horizons.

Ben was featuring at Passionate Tongues Poetry readings at Brunswick Hotel the first time I was exposed to his poetry, and he invoked a strong response – people either loved or loathed him. Mention his name to some poets and they’ll reciprocate with a look of disgust. ‘His work isn’t literature!’ someone said to me, ‘he’s sexist, misogynistic – he’s a pornographer, that’s all he is.’ And I received more than a few complaints when I interviewed him on 3CR’s Spoken Word program a few weeks ago. I’m working with Ben to put together a show for my launch where we will be going head-to-head, poetry style, and I have to say, getting to know him as a person, he is a far stretch from the ‘sexist pig’ people label him to be. In fact, he has been in a loving relationship with his girlfriend for ten years, so what seems to be the problem here?

Growing up in the working-class suburb of Broadmeadows, Ben wrote poetry from a young age but was afraid to tell anyone. Today, at the age of twenty-seven, he has only just come out of the woodwork with his writing, producing three chapbooks (Drunk and the matinee, Double penetration and I fucking love you, bitch, launched at the Overload poetry festival) and one poetry collection (Horror, Sleaze and Trash) in the last year, all of them selling well. On 3CR radio he admitted to me that he felt the only way he could get away with writing poetry was to write about things his friends could relate to, or more precisely, in order to communicate with them, he had to speak their language. ‘I wanted to put something together where all my friends could enjoy it … it’s the lowbrow scene, it’s the tattoo scene … it’s all very related to nudity and sex, it’s kind of alternative … and I thought it was a good idea to put literature next to things like that where everyone could be exposed to art.’

The main concern, it seems, is that Ben is accused of treating women as sex objects in his writing and on his website, which, averages 300 hits a day but can sometimes get 4000 hits. On his website Ben features artists from around the world including poets, short story writers, graffiti and sketch artists, and photographers. A lot of the content is sexually explicit and some of the photos are of naked women. But Ben defended the claims against made against him on 3CR. ‘The women is always empowered, and often they contact me to be photographed – I am hosting the photographer, here, not the woman as an object.’

Ben may have not been fortunate enough to receive the education that many in our middle-class literary world seem to have, although he does read avidly, two books a week, from Dostoevsky to Chuck Palahniuk. But to me, there is real beauty in his poetry, an honesty and rawness that draws me in. His poetry challenges me, makes me feel uncomfortable at times, and has inspired me immensely, which is why we are doing this show together. I’m not sure if I would have had the idea to produce my chapbook, or to think it was even at all possible to write poetry like this, had I not been exposed to Ben’s poetry.

If we examine the literary landscape at present, it seems that sexually explicit literature is shunned away from, particularly in journals. This is one of the main reasons I decided to self publish my chapbook, because I can’t imagine any journal publishing my material, and that begs the question: is Australian literature too conservative? After all, words are words; why does literature have to be academic writing? Literature is art, and art should not be censored. Yet it seems, from the responses Ben receives from the literary world, they want him to be censored. If anything, Ben is a mirror to the world he grew up in. Art is a reflection of society, and in order to understand society, we should allow the art to be free to be viewed, questioned and appreciated.

Although Ben and I both share a love for words and sex poetry, my aims for my poetry and particularly my chapbook, stem from a different seed. Growing up in a sexually repressed culture, I was never encouraged to explore my sexuality and instead the focus was on finding a man to marry. Ten years later, having separated from my husband, it seems that I am now living the years I was denied by my culture – and it isn’t just me. Lately I’m hearing many stories of divorces and separations where the woman married young because she felt that it was expected of her to do so. Writing this poetry and producing this book has been one of the most liberating experiences in my writing career, and also, my personal growth. Esther Anatolitis, CEO of Melbourne Fringe who is also from a Greek background, had this to say after reading my chapbook: ‘Koraly writes in a voice that you need to hear. Her pride and passion is powerful, vulnerable, tentative, strong. The way she fucks with our sense of φιλότιμο – pride – will be chillingly resonant and painfully desirable to women from our community who have refused themselves a voice.’

But that wasn’t my only aim. I am tired of reading poetry about birds and trees, and although birds and trees are a huge part of the world we live in, so is sex, and this part of humanity shouldn’t be buried or ignored. Paul Kooperman, National Director of Australian Poetry had this to say: ‘Love and Fuck Poems is exactly what poetry should be – personal, passionate and bold. It goes to places many poets avoid, shining light on humanity’s dark side, allowing the reader the rare opportunity of feeling included in the experience through the clarity and honesty of the work.’

What Ben and I both agree on is that sex is something natural and part of our humanity; it’s something we should celebrate and not be embarrassed about. Ben also spoke to me on 3CR about the photographs he takes for the website. ‘All the shots I’ve ever done are never naked – and I think that’s very funny because the shots I do get 100, 200 likes on facebook but then the porno ones [taken by other professional photographers], we get 3000, 4000 hits, but two likes on facebook – it’s the whole I want to see it but I don’t want anyone to know, and I just think it’s something that should be embraced.’

And embracing is what we will both be doing for the launch of my new chapbook, Love and Fuck Poems:
8 pm, Thursday 30 June
Bar Nancy, 61 High Street Northcote

In the meantime, enjoy the poetry below.

Author’s note
WARNING: The poems below are sexually explicit. Please do not scroll down if you are easily offended. After reading Ben’s poem ‘Fantasy’ from his poetry collection Horror, Sleaze and Trash, I responded by writing my own poem called ‘Fantasy’. Ben and I will be responding to each other in this way on our evening at Bar Open, poem for poem. Hope to see you there.

Fantasy
By Ben John Smith

I think my ultimate fantasy
Would be to dangle
My limp dick across a woman’s face.

And like a tea bag

Drop it slowly into her opening –
Red lipped mouth.

I’d keep it in there
While she toyed with her junk.

She would have green nail polish on,
And it would dance,
In her pink and purple
Play ground.

She would hum
And my dick would grow harder.

Moan
And my shaft would expand.

Firmer.

Like them dinosaur toys
That expand in a glass of water.

Bigger. Chunkier.

Filling up her jaws

Pushing out her cheeks
like a blow fish.

Her teeth leaving imprints
On the foreskin.

Muffled and full

Until, finally, she would
Be unable to maintain the load
And with a big

“Phatttooie!”

She would throw her head back,
In an arch of spit a
and bright glowing eyes.

While my dick bounced up and down
Like a great rubber gong.

Fantasy
By Koraly Dimitriadis

you pin me to the bed
spread my legs
penetrate me
without a condom
skin against skin
you whisper my name
tell me you’re falling for me
ask me what we’re doing
and I’m not sure, what we’re doing
and you’re fucking me slowly
teasing me with your cock
in a little, out a little
ask me if I’m liking it
ask if I’m sure I’m liking it
because you can stop
if I’m not liking it
and I assure you
I’m liking it! I’m liking it!
but you’re not so sure
so you slow to a stop
and I’m begging you
but you don’t care
please fuck me!
you take a chunk of my hair
rotate my head, kiss my neck
and you’re moving again
in deeper, out, in, and out
and I’m gonna come
and you’re gonna come
because I’m gonna come
and I’m gonna come
we’re gonna come
and you ask if I want it
and I yell, yes, more than anything
I want you swimming Inside me
and I’m gonna come
we’re coming, we’re coming
and we’re screaming
each other’s Names
yes, yes, fuck, yes, yes!

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate.

Koraly is a widely published Cypriot-Australian writer and performer. She is the author of the controversial Love and F**k Poems. Koraly received an Australia Council ArtStart grant. She presents on 3CR radio and has a residency at Brunswick Street Bookstore. Her 2013 La Mama show is Exonerating The Body. She is mentored by Christos Tsiolkas.

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Comments

  1. This is nothing new; art has been censored for as long as it has been created – Dante was condemned for writing in dialect, making his writing accessible to the common people, Mozart’s ‘Marriage of Figaro’, Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’, Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’. Ben’s poem above is no more shocking than some of Ginsberg’s later work with his odes to Peter Orlovsky. The day that art ceases to shock will be a very sad day.
    Pornography is too broad a term and too easy a blanket for the puritanical philistines to throw.
    Anything that wrestles art out of the darkened corridors of academia and into where it should be, the hearts and conscious of the populace, is a good thing.
    If I were Ben or Koraly I’d be more worried if my work was simply accepted and filed away, revel in the controversy. Ben / Koraly are dead right, the last thing the world needs is another poem about birds or fucking daffodils.

  2. Poetry or pornography? Well, based on the two examples given, I’m happy to pronounce them both poetry AND pornography.

    But are they any good? No.

    • Gamera, and how do u substantiate your claim that the poems are no good? Based on what? Your personal taste? Your definition of what poetry is or should be? Can you please elaborate? Of course it is so much easier to give a blanket statement like ‘they are not any good’ but it’s much harder to give reasons why.

      • I am happy to elaborate: absent the invention of a poetryometer, all stated opinions are generated by my own brain.

        As someone who consumes both poetry and pornography, I am very accepting of both categories. I consider them purely descriptive; ‘pornography’ is not a pejorative, and ‘poetry’ is not a declaration of quality. These two pieces very much resemble pornography in their content, and poetry in their form. That’s enough for me, in terms of categorisation.

        Personally, however, I do not enjoy these poems; nor would I publish them. I am not in any way offended by them, and would happily read poems much filthier than these. I just don’t think these poems are anything more than surface texts – a litany of descriptions of physical acts with (in the case of the first poem) a few similes chucked in. They don’t make me feel anything. They don’t capture anything particularly unique or uncover any sequestered truths for me. They feel utterly generic – the sorts of brazen, self-aggrandizing, slightly embarrassing poems that young people often write as tributes to the discovery of their own sexual power.

        I have come across many, many people writing sexually explicit poetry similar to the two examples given here. I don’t mind people writing these sorts of poems, as I think they are often therapeutic for the author. But I don’t personally enjoy reading them or hearing them performed, and I would not select them for publication.

        • ‘They are merely surface texts’…um so I guess then that you publish academic poetry then? Maybe if editors published a little more of this ‘utterly generic poetry’ as you call it, then maybe more people would read and enjoy poetry…the amount of times i pick up a journal and read the most boring poetry on the planet just astounds me, beyond belief. art is art. art is not art according to academia.and believe me, plenty of people enjoy my poetry and ben’s.

          • > um so I guess then that you publish academic poetry then?

            I have no connection whatsoever to academia.

            > and believe me, plenty of people enjoy my poetry and ben’s.

            I’m sure some people do enjoy them. I’m merely providing another viewpoint, which the article seems to invite. The article seems to be asking, at least in part, why these poems are receiving criticism from some other poets and not being published in literary journals. The explanation offered is that “sexually explicit literature is shunned”. I’m suggesting that this explanation at least incomplete, and at most self-serving. To brand oneself a daring outsider — a maverick whose art is simply too hot for the establishment — is to indulge in self-flattery.

            A simpler, more realistic, but less exciting explanation would be that these pieces are not really of a publishable standard as poems on the page. They may work well as spoken word for a receptive audience, or as porn lit for a site such as literotica.com. But as poems on the page they are not very strong. I do not mean to besmirch the talent of the authors, with whom I’m unfamiliar — all writers have strong work and weak work, and room for improvement.

            As an example of a poem that works well on the page in addition to being sexually explicit, I’d offer Hot Sex by Australia poet Tracy Ryan (though of course tastes vary, as always):

            http://www.poetrylibrary.edu.au/poets/ryan-tracy/hot-sex-0532012

        • Dude, you have touched on all my anxieties as some one
          pretending to be a poet. I think this poem i wrote
          kinda sums up exactly how i feel. If i had the good
          words, id use em.

          “Good stuff.”

          i was half asleep,
          Until she touched me like a cat would.
          and twisted her back,
          to push her ass into
          my crotch,
          bending me in half
          like a
          slit throat
          rose
          stem

          The radio says

          “The sky is one
          and she is the moon.”

          I tell her i wish i could
          write nice things
          like that.

          She says

          “you can,
          you just choose not
          too,

          She says,

          You say
          beautiful things
          to me every day.

          I decide thats the
          best way to keep this bargin.

          She gets the good stuff
          every one else
          gets whats
          left.

  3. “Why does literature have to be academic writing?” I’m not sure what this means…

    What I do know is that poets have always written about sex, from Sappho on. Things like Rimbaud’s ‘Sonnet d’un trou de cul’ (Sonnet to an Arsehole):

    Dark and wrinkled like a purple pink
    It breathes, nestling humbly among the still-damp
    Froth of love that follows the gentle slope
    Of the white buttocks to its crater’s edge.

    Filaments like tears of milk
    Have wept in the cruel wind which pushes them back,
    Across little clots of reddish marl
    To lose themselves where the slope called them.

    My dream has often kissed its opening;
    My soul, jealous of physical coitus,
    Has made this its fawn-coloured tear-bottle and its nest of sobs.

    It is the rapturous olive and the wheedling flute,
    The tube from which the heavenly burnt almond falls:
    Feminine Canaan enclosed among moistures.

    • Really enjoyed your piece Koraly, and i really enjoyed the responses.

      Rosanne, i really think i agree with you – i have felt much the same anxieties my self – am i just a back wash, ranting bull shit artist, or if i persist, will time make something of what im trying to do.

      I always have been and always will be about communication mainly and i would love to chat, talk and share some more poems (not necessarily the dirty ones) with any one who wants to chew the fat. Either through snail mail or email.

      ben@alternativereel.com

      or

      Ben John Smith
      PO Box 806 Tullamarine 3043
      Vic Australia.

  4. One cannot write instant “literature” – it becomes that after decades of consensus. In their time, written pieces are either popular or not, accepted and read, or not. They might be artistic, but they are not art yet. Many are social kneejerks that are vaguely valid in their time, because they are mere adolescent rebellion, but eminently forgettable.

    I am in favour of freedom of speech and other social requisites – muzzling artists and writers is unnecessary and crude, and moreover, in this era of globally accessible material, rather useless. Everyone knows choices exist. One can view or listen or not. It’s choices we need to defend, and the right to produce individual art. Removing a choice from the public is repression. To be or not to be engaged in pornography is thankfully fast becoming a choice. It was not always the case.

    The “it’s natural” argument is old and does not wash. A lot of human activity is natural, but that alone does not make it either palatable, ethical or in some cases legal. Even some of the most basic natural acts, responses and reflexes (such as noisy chewing),are boring at best and disgusting or offensive at worst. Just because they are ‘natural’ does not mean they are instantly appealing, sanctioned or able to be approved.

    The choice to read something or leave it unread is obvious, but not as clear as the ability to choose to say or write or paint or sing something.

    I will defend to my death your right to write a poem about anything, but also mine to ignore it.

  5. Hi all, thanks for the comments and this is what I wanted, to generate a discussion so I welcome all comments. Mark, yes I agree that sexual poetry is nothing new in the history of literature, but I am talking more specifically now, today, 2011, in Australian literature, and if I was to take that snap shot, and look at books and journals etc I think we are too conservative and we shy away from this kind of literature, which leads me to Alison’s question about what I mean by ‘academic writing’. I mean, specifically with poetry and journals, that the writing tends to be more academic poetry rather than raw, emotive poetry which is where Ben’s and my poetry lie.

    Rosanne, I don’t really understand your argument. On the one hand you are saying you are in favour of freedom or speech and on the other you are saying people should have a choice to read or not to read. So are you saying then that poems such as mine and Ben’s should be published in anthologies or journals because you seem to be skating around the issue…

  6. Poetry that is really well written is pornography.

    Stick that in your craw and nosh it faux erudite lit professor knobs!

    Thus to the d-bags!

  7. I’m surprised no one has mentioned Paul Verlaine’s (1844-1896) poetry collection Women/ Men. It’s difficult to surpass the debauchery depicted in such gems as ‘Foursome’, ‘Triolets for a virtue in excuse for mine being small’, ‘High Romance’, ‘Low scene’ and ‘Climb on, as women do to ride…’

    I’m not too sure whether Ben considers his literary contributions as Art (whatever that means) but he sure seems to have a hell of a lot of fun doing it. Having read three of his chapbooks, I prefer his stuff over the verbal drudgery I am often punished with when I open a book of Australian contemporary poetry. Go Ben & Koraly!

  8. Ultimately writing should be honest, whether it’s about sex or flowers or addictions or afflictions, as long as the writer has invested themselves into the piece. Writing to deliberately shock is as bad as writing to please as it masks the writer’s true voice. Good or bad is up to the subjectivity of the reader as it is also the reader’s responsibility to complete the poem.
    And I just remembered I’m on Ben’s alternative reel website – cool (although it links to my old, now defunct, website.

  9. Pingback: the outlaw poetry network » koraly dimitriadis | poetry or pornography?

  10. I don’t think Bens poetry is pornography, I usually feel somewhat ashamed after looking at porn and after reading bens poem I only felt slightly more cultured. Also poetry is kind of a niche market as it is, so who can you censor it from? Ben takes something potentially sleazy and makes it beautiful.

  11. ease up gamera. we are not on youtube.

    what red blooded male didnt just get turned on by koralys poem. that was pretty damn hot.i felt myself reading faster as it went on. is it poetry or pornography? well, im way out of my depth to answer or judge, that goes into deep for me man. but i will say, i must see through all that because if anything bens poems make me and my girlfriend laugh. he might say different but i think thats all he aims to do at the end of the day.

    matt, i think you hit the nail on the head with that. i feel exactly the same way after i read his books.

      • haha dude, sorry i avoided answering the question. people gotta know by now there is more to your poems then just the damn right filth. but fuck it yeah, if the question is based on these 2 poems alone, then i think they could file under both poetry and pornography! but is that a bad thing? i just dont get it man. 

        just maybe some folk on here need to except this is just alternative poetry for 18 to 30’s. people like me, who up until two years ago thought poetry WAS all about flowers and rivers. 

        ben, you gotta stop putting this debate out there. if you end up toning it down because of some bullshit responses, ill be real pissed of man haha

        • Brother, i think the only reason i fucking write is for dudes like you. Wont be toning any thing down but its good to get a slamming every now and then – keeps you in check =)

          Thanks so much for your support my mate

          • it was just a rough guess. but i fucking hope so megan. i guess ill have to wait and see if im still buying bens poems when i reach that age. not gonna lie, im way out my depth talking about this kinda thing, just like im out of my depth disecting bens poems and putting them in different label categories. so you can imagine when you say your a political poet, it actually means fuck all to me. i just dont like people taking the piss out of his poems. i dont know, i guess it just feels like they are taking the piss out of the people who buy them also. maybe you are or maybe you aint, but to suggest he should lose part of his poem to make it suit you….fuck me! did you actually think he would turn around and say, ”your fucking right megan, that top part ruins it” dear fucking jesus haha

          • sorry megan! i seemed to blame you for every thing there haha just getting names mixed up, but im sure you worked that out.

  12. At the end of the day art is supposed to elicit a response whether it be negative or positive, all artists have their critics. Particularly those who dabble around the fringes of \ social acceptability\. Ben at least speaks what is on his mind, no censorship just 100% what he feels. In these times where we are force fed bullshit through any medium possible it’s refreshing that we can actually still find \art\ in it’s purest form. Someone expressing what they want, bottom line. Keep up the great work ben, I personally love reading your stuff.

  13. Hi all, thanks for the positive comments. A few people have emailed me their responses in private and the main concern with Ben’s poem is that the woman is ‘absent’ and that the poem is all about the male’s pleasure. I have read a lot of Ben’s poetry, some about growing up in Broadmeadows, about beer drinking, about death, about his girlfriend, and I would have to say that this is probably the most confronting poem of his that I have read. I do not agree that woman should be treated in a derogatory way, but what I really find fascinating about this poem is that Ben whittles it down to just the act of sex, just sex, primal sex. His intention is not to degrade the woman, the woman is merely an abstract construct, it is just about pleasure and sex, and if I am being completely honest also with myself(I can’t believe I’m writing this), I too have had fantasies about having sex with a complete stranger, where is didn’t matter who he was, that it is only about the pleasure and what I want for myself for pleasure. This isn’t about gender politics. It’s just about sex.

  14. “Is sex dirty? Only if it’s done right.”
    -Woody Allen.

    “Ladran, luego cabalgamos.”
    -Cervantes.

    “They bark, so we´re riding.”
    -Cervantes.
    Keep on the good dirty poetry, Ben and Koraly!

    • Thanks for a great discussion here, Koraly 🙂 I guess the name of discussion, though, I’d have to argue that gender politics can never truly be removed from sex. Why do we find certain things a turn-on, and others not? Why do we express our sexual selves in certain ways and not in others? What is taboo, and do we break that taboo or not?

      And what shapes that sexuality? The political and social context. This is always revealed and represented in any text, but PARTICULARLY when it comes to sexuality. Why do so many of us fantasize about sex with strangers? what does that say about our collective psyches? About the state of the world in our version of here and now? And why also is it just a “fantasy”?

      Erotic poetry (or any form of erotica) should raise these questions though. It’s not so much about shocking people as challenging them.

      For me, the difference between what we do and pornography is the intention. This kind of work is not created purely for the purpose of profit, or for the arousal of the audience. It’s self-expression, and though I think all kinds of sexual politics are represented in erotica, the reality is that sexual politics are not always pretty, they’re not always PC…. and that’s part of the job, I think, to capture that authenticity in our craft.

      That said, they’re in

  15. I think we have a right to critique pornography, just as we have a right to critique and appreciate/not appreciate anything.

    There is a lot of misogynistic pornography. Porn is misogynistic when women are merely objects; the acted upon; when the man – the central protagonist – is the pleasure seeker and the pleasure provider; violence is also often a factor.

    ‘I think my ultimate fantasy / Would be to dangle / My limp dick across a woman’s face’, ‘Double penetration’ and ‘I fucking love you, bitch’ raise a number of red flags for me as a thinking, feeling being.

    I also wonder: where are the naked men on Ben’s site?

    Ian Shearer is wrong, by the way. Words can be racist and they can be misogynistic, regardless of intent. Words cannot be simply stripped of their history and their context.

    Frankly, I’m growing tired of these men telling me, ‘You don’t know what misogyny is so shut the fuck up.’

    • Haha Jacinda, im not afraid of that at all dude – if i could find a man willing! Ill put out a call!

      The next shoot, which is in planning at the moment is actually a glamour shot with a Drag Queen, one of the biggest and best in Melbourne. I think that will be a great talking point!

      Its imposible for me to defend my self, cause the lines are interpreted how they read. But im not atempting to bellitle woman kind in any way,or i hope im not. This poem is just one of the more grungie poems i have, most are about my girl friend (she says things tha are better than any poem i can write) or the cat. Some of its good, some is horrible.

      I have no idea what im doing and i have never tried to pretend i did. Its just what comes out and its cathardic, it helps. And yeah, its a little corny, but i like the communication and interation, its a groove. Id be willing to mail any one copies of my book for free if they want to read more. just shot me a line ben@alternativereel.com – maybe they can make a more informed opion after a range of my rubbish is read. Haha – hardly he most applealing plug, i know!

  16. Congrats on the forthcoming chapbook, Koraly.

    I agree with some of the previous comments – quite clearly, these are both poetry and pornography (or pornographic poems, if you will).

    I’ve always had to be extremely careful with my poetry that the ‘sensation’ of what I’m saying is backed up by the literary know-how.

    Essentially, I always ask myself, before I publish – would this be a well-written poem to someone who disagreed with, or disliked the subject matter?

    If you could take the ‘sensationalism’ of it away, is the poetic ‘architecture’ actually there?

    With my work, not always, but I’m so conscious of this now that I feel I mostly get there.

    And now I’m gonna say something which might upset you.
    For me, these poems are very basic prose descriptions of sex acts cut up to look like poetry. They could well accompany your average porn mag photo.Not all explicit sex poetry is like this though – and not all of yours is, because I’ve heard you read others.

    The Rimbaud example above is perfect:

    \Filaments like tears of milk
    Have wept in the cruel wind which pushes them back,
    Across little clots of reddish marl\

    You cannot fault that – despite the subject, it is brilliance.

      • Hi Ben,

        That poem is very interesting – I’m wondering why you included that first stanza in that particular poem at all? Irony? The rest of the poem’s beautiful.

          • thats what i mean by people trying to get you to tone it down. its fucking sneaky saying, you just take a bit off here, a bit off there. well, maybe not in so many words, but you can see what shes trying to imply….cut out the fucking filth and you got yourself a beautiful poem! dude, might as well chop off you fucking head while your at it haha

          • Cut the righteousness Will. Clearly you have no idea that I’m a political poet myself – perhaps more ‘controversially’ so than Ben here. I’m not saying cut that bit out, I’m questioning why it’s there – and if I have to do that, as a writer, reader and poet, then maybe it needn’t be in this particular work. I wonder if it’s there because of that trap all of us ‘outside the box’ poets sometimes make of writing to ‘type’.

  17. Maxine, ‘literary know-how’? Come on, now we are going back to a debate we had years ago about what poetry is. There does not have to be ‘literary know-how’ in a poem, for God’s sake it’s art. Why does Australian litrature have to be so conservative? If all writers followed the ‘literary know-how’ we would all sound the same and nobody would be breaking any new ground – oh, suprise, we all do sound the same! I want to read writing that moves me, not boring, academic crap, and don’t get me wrong, I love Rimbaud, but come on, let’s break some boundaries…geeze…so what is poetry then for you, maxine? to me, there are no rules. If someone has read it, and is moved by it, it’s done its job.

    • This comment is troubling – you seem to be suggesting that art doesn’t require skill.

      I agree (more than anyone!) that in terms of style and subject matter, half of our contemporary Australian poetry is largely conservative and boring… But the other half, the half that isn’t published in journals, the half that is either performed or self-published is too often lazy and indulgent.

      It’s easy to get caught up in the politics of poetry in this country, but it isn’t sustainable for your arts practice to gear your writing and publishing endeavors around trying too hard to get noticed. Or maybe it is, I don’t know.

      I have to wonder if you’re completely clear on the reasons those poems aren’t publishable, subject matter aside. Like, sometimes self-critique is far more valuable than criticizing the system (however immensely flawed the system happens to be).

      • Woah, lets not get shit twisted. I dont mind people having a crack at me or my poems, but lets not tar every thing i have done with the same brush.

        I have been published all over the world, from Epic Rites Press and Lummox Press in USA, CriminalClass Press in London, Visible Ink Australia, I have had work in books in Spain with artist Pinturero, i had works exhibited in Berlin, Poland and Germany with artist ths (www.ths.nu) I have an up coming book with Catfish McDarius, i have interviewed some brilliant people for HST and i did basically all this shit by my self with my own cash and time.

        “trying too hard to get noticed” – are you kidding me? of course i am! thats the bloody battle isnt it?! I know im a hack – ive only been around a year and i have been going like a mad man to make something of my self.

        “self-published is too often lazy and indulgent” – well god forbid poetry is self indulgent. I write down what happens to me, way i see it.

        im starting to get a good view of what all you dudes are really like, its really easy to simply say “its shit” and dirt every thing i have worked so fucking hard and long for.

        Still find it interesting no one has taken me up on any conversation or for me to send more material. I never claimed to be a genius or a poet – shit, i HATE THE WORD poet, makes me feel like a wanker and if being a “poet” means being a part of this rabble i have been exposed to – esspecially the bloody gossipers in the local scene, i want nothing to do with it – im terrible on a mic any way!

        • Take it easy, I wasn’t talking about your poem. Like I said below – I don’t mind it. Maybe I’m not reading carefully enough but I can’t find anyone who’s called your writing shit. I also wasn’t trying to discourage you, by any means. As you say, you’ve only been at it one year – some of us have been at it for 10 and 20 years, we’re just trying to talk about the ideas Koraly has explored in her article.

          When I say self-indulgent, I mean that it’s only written for the satisfaction of the poet, disregarding the reader’s experience. I hope you don’t really see all poetry as being this way.

          It’s very difficult to have any kind of meaningful discussion about poetic values when every engaged comment is taken as a personal attack. So, I’m going to stop trying now.

          • dude, i knew i have seen you before! We have chatted in emails before when i was first starting, over the alternativereel poets corner? What a trip out.

            from what i remember you were pretty edgy your self.

            Im not here to start blues with any one, shit, i barley know what im aiming for – i know you havent said it, and im not sure how you feel but i gotta say, in all honesty being called a “sexist” is fucking killing me, thats not what im about at all. And that a personal attack, you know. at least the dudes here are posting shit and conversing, there are alot of dudes out there snitching and bitching behind my back like fucking parakeets and its giving me the shits.

            its all kinda being blown well out of proportion, im a creep – admitably so, but im not about getting in peoples face/shock value/sexism. Its just what comes out – i do things or think em and write em down. There is no agenda here – im bassically just tripping out.

          • Imagine how Bill Henson felt being nearly charged with pedophilia.

            I’m dubbed a bleary-eyed whiskey-drinking whinger – I’ve had emails from readers asking why I don’t write about sunshine and happiness.

            You can’t produce something that’s intentionally designed to get a reaction and then freak out when the reaction isn’t all positive. Besides, that’s one of the great things they teach you in the terrible world of poetic academia: you’re not meant to assume the poet and the speaker in the poem are one and the same. It may be argued that your work contains misogynistic representations, which is different from someone calling you sexist.

      • Tara, all art IS self-indulgent, and my opinion is that the good stuff here in Australia, isn’t being published. ‘Art doesn’t require skill’ – here we are getting into another debate. Are artists born artists? Are they born with the skill to be an artist and is education just a place of inspiration and refining that skill? My teacher, Ania Walwitz, a well known experimental poet here in Australia, would say that there are no rules, and that sometimes, the way the poem comes out, is exactly how it should remain.

        Yes I AM clear on why these poems are not publishable: it’s because in this country, what is classed as litrature is what the editors and publishers decide is litrature. Ben has a massive following, but editors and publishers wouldn’t have a bar of him. So what has happened here? Well, it seems that Australian litrature has become not what the public are craving to read/hear but what the editors and publishers(or academia) believe and want litrature to be. Art is limitless and that’s why I love being an artist and I’m going to stay true to my art. Art is Art. Art is not art according to academia. Ania said to the class once: why do artists wait for approval from editors and publishers to produce their art, you can do it on your own. Art that is successful connects with people and you don’t need the middle man(publishers) to reach people so that’s what I’m doing nad hence self publishing these poems.

  18. Jacinda your interpretation of ben’s pieces are merely a reflection of your own state of mind. It’s easy to take lines out of context and twist them to fit your agenda.

    To me Ben’s poetry isn’t about turning women into objects, devaluing them or using them merely as ‘pleasure providers’. They are about love, fantasy and a vulnerability about whether he is worthy of such a woman. Yes he expresses this in a way that may be challenging for people but to label someone as a misogynist on your evaluation of their art is out of order.

    Yes you as a ‘thinking, feeling being’ have a right to critique, like or dislike but you don’t have the right to denounce and defame. Ultimately you don’t know Ben and you obviously don’t get what he is trying to say.

    Ben you’re a rockstar don’t ever apologise for your art.

    • I love your second para description of Ben. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Very clearly articulated. I rest my case. Come and say hi if you’re coming on Thursday

    • I’m pretty sure the fact that Jacinda published the poem, despite her completely valid critique of some of the lines absolves her of any alleged defamation. If anything, she’s supporting a healthy discussion of the work.

      “Ultimately you don’t know Ben and you obviously don’t get what he is trying to say.” – really? If his poem requires you to have a d&m with him in order to know what it says, then it’s probably not a very good poem. This is irritating because a major culprit of the boring conservatism in Australian poetry publishing is the pathetic reviewing culture, where everyone just writes doting sugar-coated blurbs that don’t force poets/publishers/editors to think twice about their creative choices. All we have is healthy critical commenting on blogs to keep us awake. So, please don’t try to take that away from us too!

    • Fair call i think Erin, Im kinda blown away by all this, im actually really a little bit bummed out by being labeled as such a shit dude, its a downer. But thats how it is, you know?

      End of the day, fuck it – as long as i have friends like you and people who know what im all about i dont think im doing to badly. Love ya guts kid.

      • brush your shoulders off kid, you’ve got more courage and conviction than they’ve got criticism!

        see your fine self at the reading on thursday 🙂

        Get down there people and meet the man behind this mayhem!

  19. Koraly, you know I love you like crazy (though not in the ‘fuck poem’ way)…and was indeed one of the people who steered you toward spoken word…so…

    How can you of all people, seriously think I equate ‘literary know-how’ with ‘traditional poetics’?

    I’m not saying these aren’t poems. What I’m saying is that TO ME, GOOD poetry needs a ‘poetic hook’. I use poetic loosely…I don’t give a fuck (no pun intended) what that hook is. Is it Eddy Burger’s nod to absurdism? Is it Geoff Lemon’s contagious hip-hop rhythm? Is it EZB’s pop cult rhymes or that gentle, haunting pulse than runs through Josephine Rowe’s words, both on page and stage?

    Keep us there, so we’ll read past the sex if we’re not into ths sex.

    Or is it JUST sex? Because poetry is bloody hard to sell, and we all know sex sells.

    And that’s too easy.

    For me, it can be about the sex, but it also has to be bigger than the sex (no pun intended, yet again).

    Or else it IS the sex. And that’s not good poetry, it’s just good sex, on the page.

    I do get what you’re saying about the politics behind what you’re writing: the repression you feel as a young Greek-Cypriot woman, and the liberating effect of this poetry.

    But you’re not writing about that in this poem. This poem will stand alone, without that accompanying context: a poem about being fucked.

    I want you to write the poem that says:

    I was married young, dressed in a white dress, told I had happily ever after and not to go looking for anything else – I threw it all in and this is what it was like as a young Greek-Cypriot woman, facing a conservative community which felt appearances were more important than my happiness…oh, along the way I had kick-arse sex. Heaps of it.

    Write that Koraly.

    Write that.

    Then write it again.

    Then write it again and again and again.

  20. Maxine, I love you too, and I do have poetry in my chapbook that is about all that Cypriot sexual repression stuff. I write in different styles and this is just the style of this particular poem which is, really, just about sex and its intention is to turn you on and invoke a physical sexual reaction, no hook, just emotion. Yes, I have poetry with hooks, this one is just about sex, and why does it need to have a hook? its purpose is physical reaction. I think it works well on the page and boy does it work well in performance, an orgasm, all of its own!

    • This is not a poem about good sex to me unfortunately. It’s a poem about begging to be fucked, just as Ben’s poem is about the fantasy of a random woman sucking him off.

      And because of this my physical reaction to both pieces is to cringe, then feel uneasy.

      So I guess I do understand your intention, but because your intent (to turn on) failed with me, I started looking for something else to appreciate about the piece.

      And therin lies the problem.

      I’d love to read one of your sex poems where the between-the-sheets relationship is, at the very least, equal: where the woman is not reliant on, and BEGGING the man, to satisfy her.

      I’m sure there are some in your chapbook and I’m looking forward to reading and reviewing it.

      And I’m proud of you Koraly – for starting this dialogue and having the guts to write whatever (the fuck) you want.

  21. Well said Maxine!

    For the record, i agree with most of what has been already posted on this thread [both sides even]; and just to reiterate what Maxine wrote “it IS the sex. And that’s not good poetry, it’s just good sex, on the page.” which was confirmed by Koraly “this one is just about sex, and why does it need to have a hook? its purpose is physical reaction. I think it works well on the page and boy does it work well in performance, an orgasm, all of its own”

    Fact is not every poem that people are inspired to write is going to be good least of all GREAT, fact also is that if your in a poetic mood when your aroused, you come up with a hell of a lot of diverse stuff [err…work….not all of which can be classed as poetry, and some rants even that definitely can be very poetic] However fact also is that just because your an artist, doesn’t make everything you produce, create, or invent, ART.

    Another observation reading thru all of these posts, is that no one has defined the words academic, poem, or art. It seems that the definitions have been left open to the individuals interpretation, -and according to the fashion here is considered the norm [lets not try to define normal, ok?]- then people who have posted have been almost accused of misinterpreting all three words. Not cool guys.

    I don’t particularly care to categorize these two particular poems or other similar pieces, into poetry or porn or cannibalism or poetry. The ‘poems’ could be about bloodsucking vampires feeding off a jugular vein for all i care; the point is this; Does it read well as a poem? I recon they need work, they look uncultivated as poems that’s all. First rule of thumb after writing is usually cut cut cut then cut it some more, [cut=edit] and i don’t mean change the words or the meaning of the imagery even, but align the words in a way that completes the piece; these look incomplete to me. If Ben and Koraly are happy with them as they are, that’s cool; good luck to them.
    This is why I don’t particularly DO spoken word; because it always misses the mark. Poetry is Poetry and Spoken Word is Spoken Word. Clearly the differences remain on the page and with the crowd.

    • Hi Pixie, thanks for your comment, but like i said above I don’t believe there are any rules to writing poetry – who says you have to edit? sometimes i write a poem and edit it, sometimes I don’t. In fact, my ‘wog’ poem, which has been published in 3 poetry anthologies, I wrote in 15 minutes on the train and that was it. Other poems have taken me 6 months to write and i perform them to test them out then cut, cut, cut. I’m also not sure, when it comes to MY poetry, if there is a distinct line that separates spoken word and poetry, but I think this also depends on the poet. I think all of my spoken word pieces could still be published in print and appreciated in a different way(as in two interpretations of the same words). I like to think poetry can exist on the page but can be brought to life when performed. But having said that there are some pieces that are BETTER performed then read, and I’d have to say that my fanatsy poem IS better performed but I like to see it on the page too for readers to read and enjoy and interpret at their own pace and in their own way. It’s like chicken. I can have it roasted or grilled, it’s still chicken but tastes different, has a different texture etc. I prefer my chicken roasted, and I prefer my poems spoken! I’d like to know what you think about this Maxine??

  22. Why does everything nowadays need a label????? Does my son write pornography or poetry?
    What does it really matter anyway? if you like it read it if you dont well hey go read something else.
    I know I certainly dont read half the stuff he writes but as his mother I am able to differentiate between the person he is and the persona he has created as an artist.
    People who criticise and lable often have insecurities of their own to deal with, but do not judge this man you do not know, who rings his mother 3 times a day and tells her he loves her openly, I don’t need to defend his work , he can do that himself but do not lable him personally when you have no idea what sort of person he is.

  23. Isn’t it curious how much ego surrounds the poetry genre? These days if you have a degree you reserve the right to hang shit on any member of the working class. Literary snobs are worse, they have the power of the word to use as a sword, and they like to cut. Poetry does not belong to the likes of these. It never did. The heart of a poet should be a wild untamed thing, not tempered by a screwed society and its notions of what is or isn’t right and what is or isn’t art. A great poem, the kind that lasts, doesn’t come from this snobby clique.

    Ben, I have read your work in other forums and it is good poetry. A strong new voice from the heart of a poet. The only difficult thing for any poet is to become stuck within a subject. Fuck us, by all means, but the soul of a poet lives in the whole world not just the bedroom. It is dangerous to just write the stuff that appeals to your mates. I don’t think you do, but there is not much of the other stuff on the website. I defend the right of any new voice to be heard and felt minus the intellectual biggots.

    As to porn or art- the images are graphic, some of the poetry is graphic but it is the kind that leaves us shaken not stirred. It seems to me that’s a good thing in the current climate of retro conservatism. We wouldn’t need porn as a society if we all had a healthy respect and enjoyment of body as sensory, sexual and spiritual essence.

    So to the art critics, go and do some real writing. To Ben, just keep being yourself. I dont see a mysoginist in sight- you are a lover, the perfect occupation for a poet.

    Cheers
    Carmel Williams

  24. Hi all, I agree here with Tara’s comment, all, please let’s not take things as a personal attack, we are just having a debate about ideas etc and i don’t want anyone to feel like they can’t post their thoughts so Tara pls do respond if you want to.

    Maxine, this poem is a fantasy, one of many I’ve had, and yes, I like being dominated, and a lot of women do, IN THE BEDROOM not in life, but someone that I want eg the line ‘you tell me you’re falling for me’. okay, so the poem didn’t do it for you. I’m sorry, but when it comes to sex, I like being dominated(I can’t believe i’m writing this!) for god’s sake! sex isn’t meant to be politically correct, oh, so the roles have to be equal – come on! I like be the dominator or BE dominated. It’s SEX! Geeze!

  25. maybe this poem will clarify what i mean: page 33 of love and fuck poems:

    Domination

    I want it, no other way
    Complete and utter submission
    Fuck you. Did you hear me? F u c k Y o u
    You will not survive.
    You wrestle me onto my stomach.
    Fuck you. I won’t suck you, you hear?
    I won’t suck your cock. Ha. Fuck you. Ha!
    You compress me, use your body, your arms, to trap me.
    You take my ear into your mouth.
    Fuck you! Fuck you for doing what you do to me.
    Do you hear me? Fuck you.
    You don’t speak.
    You hardly do.
    You finger fuck me.
    It’s too rough, I protest, fuck you, fuck you…
    You don’t speak.
    You don’t care.
    You continue to do it

    On and
    On and
    On……

    Domination.
    Complete and utter submission.

    And I want it, no other way.

    • if they dont get your poems by now they never will. you shouldnt have to put another example up….but saying that, im fucking glad you did! thats another pretty damn hot poem koraly! it sounds like you have a talent in all styles of poetry, but i hope you pursue this one.

  26. Hey Koraly and Ben-I’ve really enjoyed reading this post and the discussion generated. Had a few thoughts I wanted to share.

    Koraly-don’t explain your writing. People will read it and put their own spin on it. If it’s art it stands on it’s own and people can interpret how they want. I had a similar experience to what’s happened with your poetry with a short story I wrote a few years ago, http://www.spinetinglermag.com/library/s08/game.html, that exploded in the blogosphere with people interpreting my poem as supporting NAMBA (the freaks who believe in adults have sex with children).

    I was horrified and entered the fray defending my story and the personal experiences that influenced it. I felt like I cheapened myself and my writing by doing this. I was giving away a piece of myself that no one had a right to own. After that I vowed I would write whatever the fuck I wanted and leave it on the page for readers to think of it what they will.

    Sometimes we need to explore the dark, twisted and fucked up places in our imagination. I had a story come to me that took a year to write because it freaked the shit out of me. It was my response to the Kill Bill Scene ‘I’m Buck and I like to fuck.’ http://www.spinetinglermag.com/summer2007story5.htm

    When I had the opportunity to have it published I did not hesitate and think about what others would think, how it would be interpreted etc. I’m proud of the story and think it holds up well even now (sometimes I re-read my old shit and cringe). Most importantly the process of writing freed me up and made me listen to my muse and some amazing stuff has come from it.

    I think your poetry exploring female sexuality is something that you need to do and it will resonate with readers in a positive or negative way. You can’t control their responses. For now you need to follow your muse and see where it takes you.

    I would like to say that one of the comments about exploring the Greek repressed girl who is discovering her sexuality is something I would love to read about so I hope this percolates some more.

    Ben-I liked your poem. Thought it was playful and titillating. I would love to check out more of your poetry because I love your motto to re-interpret and write for those that poetry is not always the first choice. I’l drop you a line via your email address.

    Either way I think this discussion was great and I thank you both for putting yourselves out there. And Koraly I’ll email you too about your chapbook.

  27. Hi Amra, thanks so much for your response. To be honest, yeseterday, after the debate had quietened down, I was actually thinking excatly what you are discussing above. I shouldn’t have to delve into my personal life to justify the art, and I think to conduct yourself seperatly from your art is important, although difficult to do. Yes, you need to stand behind your art, but you can do it without exposing yourself to a certain degree! By the way, thanks for buying my chapbook via paypal! It’s inspired me to set it up on my website so people can buy via paypal online. If anyone wants to buy a copy and has a paypal account, send me an email with your address koraly.dimitriadis@gmail.com
    Thanks all for the discussion! Have learnt heaps! Thanks Overland! Love you to bits!

  28. Bride and Groom Lie Hidden for Three Days
    by Ted Hughes (1978)

    She gives him his eyes, she found them
    Among some rubble, among some beetles

    He gives her her skin
    He just seemed to pull it down out of the air and lay it over her
    She weeps with fearfulness and astonishment

    She has found his hands for him, and fitted them freshly at the wrists
    They are amazed at themselves, they go feeling all over her

    He has assembled her spine, he cleaned each piece carefully
    And sets them in perfect order
    A superhuman puzzle but he is inspired
    She leans back twisting this way and that, using it and laughing, incredulous

    Now she has brought his feet, she is connecting them
    So that his whole body lights up

    And he has fashioned her new hips
    With all fittings complete and with newly wound coils, all shiningly oiled
    He is polishing every part, he himself can hardly believe it

    They keep taking each other to the sun, they find they can easily
    To test each new thing at each new step

    And now she smooths over him the plates of his skull
    So that the joints are invisible
    And now he connects her throat, her breasts and the pit of her stomach
    With a single wire

    She gives him his teeth, tying their roots to the centrepin of his body

    He sets the little circlets on her fingertips

    She stitches his body here and there with steely purple silk

    He oils the delicate cogs of her mouth

    She inlays with deep-cut scrolls the nape of his neck

    He sinks into place the inside of her thighs

    So, gasping with joy, with cries of wonderment
    Like two gods of mud
    Sprawling in the dirt, but with infinite care

    They bring each other to perfection.

  29. who killed this discussion off? dont say me haha tell you what ben! tharin beeman sending you a message calling you a ‘filthy cunt’ was a slamming, this shit was just asking for it haha

  30. Although I’ve enjoyed reading the comments from everyone on the debate of poetry or pornography, there are a few parts of your post and your radio interview with Ben that I didn’t like and totally disagree with.

    Sure the debate is whether the poems are poetry or pornography, but the part that doesn’t sit well with me is your description of Ben.

    For people that have never met or know Ben, the way you describe him is way off the mark and I think there are a few stereotypes you have added that will make people perceive Ben in a totally different way than they should.

    “Growing up in the working-class suburb of Broadmeadows.”

    Ask anyone who lives in Melbourne about “Broadmeadows” and most people will cringe. Broadmeadows is classified as being a Socio-Economic Disadvantaged area that has a large number of families with low income and people with little training and in unskilled occupations.

    When most people think of Broady they automatically think of it as a place that is full of gangs, drug users, poverty, ect, not somewhere you would want your family to live or grow up in if you could avoid it.

    But Ben didn’t grow up in Broadmeadows, and lives in a middle class suburb in North-West Melbourne and I’m sure if you were to ask him, I don’t think he would class himself as being from a poverty stricken family either (which is what you imply).

    “Ben may have not been fortunate enough to receive the education that many in our middle-class literary world seem to have, although he does read avidly, two books a week, from Dostoevsky to Chuck Palahniuk. But to me, there is real beauty in his poetry, an honesty and rawness that draws me in.”

    I would love to know what you are trying to say in this paragraph Koraly?

    From reading it, it sounds like you are subtly having a dig at Ben and his poetry. What do you mean not fortunate enough to receive the education that many in our middle-class literary world seem to have? Ben successfully completed his VCE in a state school in Essendon. Is that not enough education? Is that any different to the “middle class literary world”?

    Whether or not this was your intention, but I think you create a very prejudiced view of Ben to the readers that is far from reality.

    • Hi Russel, thanks for commenting. Wow, i’m creating a prejudiced view of Ben? Well that’s not my intention. I have just checked with Ben and he actually grew up in westmeadows which is next to broadmeadows but spent the majority of his time hanging out in broadmeadows, so sorry, it seems ben and i had our wires crossed. Westmeadows is certainly NOT a middle-class suburb, it is very VERY working class. Ben went to school in gladston park first but for various reasons then had to leave that school and went to a public school in keilor, again, very working class. I am not implying he was from a poverty stricken family, I am implying he is from a working class one, although Ben has told me when he was young his family was poor, but worked hard and built up some financial backing. When I say ‘middle-class literary world’ I am referring to academics, people who have had the money, opportunity and have come from a world that encourages university studies and phds rather than a trade job. I came from a working-class family too, and when my dad came to aus he had NOTHING, but worked really hard in a trade job to build some sort of wealth.

  31. Hi Koraly,

    Sorry, I may have been a bit strong with my wording saying prejudiced view of Ben, but I guess that’s not entirely what I meant. I didn’t mean it in a bad way and attacking you, I guess I was trying to say from my view having known Ben (really only over the past few years) he is different to the the visual imagery I get when picturing your stereotypical person from ‘Broadmeadows with poor education’.

    Some of the ego that surrounds the poetry genre, will automatically look down on a person that does not have the academic qualifications they think is necessary to publish literature. Which I don’t agree with.

    I also think ‘middle class’ and ‘working class’ are very similar, if not the same thing and I don’t really know if there is a set criteria for such definitions.

    I guess the other part was what you meant by the ‘middle class literary world’. I didn’t know you meant the world where you are encouraged to do university studies and phds, which I myself was brought up in and initially went to Uni after I finished VCE because it felt like that was just what you were meant to do.

  32. this is how i see it, and i aint having a dig at koraly, but looks like she fed you to the sharks there man. sorta like saying….my poems abit dirty but look how bad this guys is before you judge mine! it just looked like you took the full blow of it, thats all.

    but like i just said, you know i got your back on all public forums, but you cant expect to put that question out there and not get negative feedback. but your mums got it right saying, if people dont like it….they can take their criticism and fuck off somewhere else! well, she didnt put it quite like that, but you know!

    haha still cant believe im fighting over poetry! admittedly i need to educate myself more, but i reckon i held my own there for awhile ha!

  33. I’m not saying that! I wasn’t trying to feed Ben to the sharks, in fact, my poems are dirtier than bens! my point was to bring this kind of poetry into the limlight and discuss it, that’s all, nobody is right or wrong here, and everyone is entitled to their opinion. No way was I saying that. I think Ben’s work is brilliant and it has been a huge inspiration for me.

  34. cut the righteousness koraly. clearly you have no idea that im a member of the hst brotherhood……and where on to you koraly! 

    WE ARE FUCKING ON TO YOU!!!

    hahaha no, seriously koraly! i know you wouldnt deliberately set out to do that. the guys your friend, i know that. but ben said it himself he was left feeling bummed out by it all. ive got a feeling you left feeling pritty damn good.

    • This seems a strange comment considering the support for your poetry in the thread and, indeed, in the posting of the blog.

      • ill take a stab in the dark and say its probably because of comments like this one: 

        “slightly embarrassing poems that young people often write”

        even if i had 5% of bens talent, i couldnt do what he does. thats why people like me jump to his defence, because we know more than anybody how hard it is to write poems and shit.
        if you ask me, i reckon other poets are just to fucking quick to criticize….its fucking insane!

  35. people are just pissed because your poetrys making waves, thats all.

    haha now im going to stop hijacking this post.

    “elvis has left the building!”

    and ben “the madman” smith is elvis.

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  41. I think it’s interesting to read you defend yourself so much Ben. The poetry is sexist. As is the pornography industry. People love it and watch it. They even claim they love women, but there is something more to it. There is an objectification.
    You seem to me to just want to walk away from this label. You’re happy when people say you are writing about love. That you get people thinking about sex is a good thing – but poetry has an aim. You have to be conscious of what your work does – and you seem determined to ignore that and just say ‘whatever comes out is just what comes out. I’m just writing it as I see it.’ This isn’t good enough – our work has consequences.

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