Amy Letter: A Poem I Love

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The last poem I loved is “Strongly Scented Sonnet” by Rhoda Janzen. It’s vivid and perverse, a bit disgusting, yet the most palpably romantic poem I have ever read. A woman, for her lover, tucks an apple into “the nest / of hair beneath her arm, a scent like cheese / extruding musky fragrances when pressed.” The language stabs: “the apple crabbed and freaked,” but the theme (and form) are utterly classic. Her lover “amorously kept it by his bed, / inhaling it—supurb!” The lusty physicality may not be pretty, it may not be love, but it makes me laugh and nod in recognition: there’s no accounting for lust, my friend, and nothing that so soundly slaps together the nasty with the desirable. Has a poem ever said it so well?

Amy Letter


In honor of National Poetry Month, The Rumpus has asked writers of all stripes to provide us with a poem they love, the reasons why, and where said poem might be found. More from this author →