Living in a hypersexed society as we do, sexuality is often cheapened and taken for granted, not only by mass media, but also by individuals, so it is in the concern of who might be interested to trace back how sex was portrayed in the past through the most refined medium that there is, poetry. The logical step would be to go as far back as possible and see what the vast difference with today is, but that would completely invert the notion we have of sexuality nowadays and we would find little to identify it with, so the best way to approach it is to find some middle ground, and what better way to start than when things truly began to change artistically speaking, that is with Modernism.
So what is going to be attempted in this paper is to contrast how different modernist poets with varying styles of their own address the theme at hand and to what effects, going from the allegorical approach to the purely pornographic.
The first poem to be addressed in this paper is “Snake” by D.H. Lawrence, one of the earliest English modernist authors. Better known as a novelist than a poet (and still better known for the convulsed life he led), Lawrence wrote this piece of work while living in exile with his wife Freida Weekley at Villa Fontana Vecchia in Taormina, Sicily in 1923, a house that would also host, years later, people as notable as Truman Capote. Upon first reading, the poem depicts the encounter of Lawrence and an intruder snake that comes to drink at his water trough on a hot summer day through a plainly simple narrative and free versed structure that is more common of prose than poetry, but that here perfectly fits the purpose of what Lawrence wants to achieve, but as we get deeper and deeper into the poem, we discover the many inherent readings and levels. Let's take a look at the very thing without further ado:
Much has been said academically and otherwise about this poem and its exultation of...