I’m just shaking my head over here, having spent a little time looking around the website for The Poetry Brothel.
Yes. The Poetry Brothel.
This is a NY-based organzation for poets,
whose mission is to expand New Yorkers’ personal, intellectual and fiscal interest in poetry through events, workshops and other projects.
And through the frilly, soft-focus frame of an olde-tyme-y bordello, where the poets themselves play at prostitution, servicing your lust for sonnets and idylls:
The Poetry Brothel presents poets as high courtesans who impart their work in public readings, spontaneous eruptions of poetry, and most distinctly, as purveyors of private poetry readings on couches, chaise lounges and in private rooms. Central to this experience is the creation of character, which for poet and audience functions as disguise and as freeing device, enabling The Poetry Brothel to be a place of uninhibited creative expression in which the poets and clients can be themselves in private.
Poetry is not sufficiently gratuitous, I guess, so why not just dress it up–literally–as a sexual service, so as to move the merch? Poets, why not promote yourselves–again, literally–as “whores“? So racy! So edgy! Skin-baring women, luring you with their best sexyfaces! A couple of men, fully dressed, glowering contemptuously at their johns and janes!
Fine, I get it: sex sells. And I’m sure that this will actually help some poets get their work heard, and people who don’t want to be seen as horrible sex-negative scolds can be all winky-winky about how “naughty” they are.
I recognize that there will likely be among our readers those who find this appealing. You can defend it in comments if you like, but I don’t seen how commoditizing poetry and/or romanticizing sex work this way is anything but the most grotesque and exploitative of two-fers. I can’t even be articulate in my disdain right now. Christ.