All We Know of Pleasure

All We Know of Pleasure


Poetic Erotica by Women

Enid Shomer, Editor

ISBN: 9780932112972

Winner of the 2019 IPPY Bronze Medal for Specialty Poetry

A 2018 Foreword Reviews INDIES Finalist for Anthologies

Featured in Cosmopolitan’s “In My Nightstand” interview with Natalia Dyer, star of Stranger Things.

All We Know of Pleasure: Poetic Erotica by Women is a breathtaking, eros driven, somatic poetic love letter to women’s bodies. So many of the poets who changed my life and writing live inside this book, and isn’t that the truth of it, that poets give our desires and ecstasies back to us? I read it with my whole body, dripping with delight.” —Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Book of Joan

“In All We Know of Pleasure, editor Enid Shomer has shown us that we may be thirsting for accounts of women’s desire. This collection, spanning the last 75 years of poetry, weaves together the words of Nikki Giovanni, Louise Gluck, Jane Hirshfield, Audre Lorde, Sharon Olds, and Adrienne Rich; and fuses together moments of eroticism at its orgasmic pinnacle to daily habits of arousal."Broadly


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A groundbreaking anthology of well-known female poets that broadens traditional notions of erotic poetry.

Here is the good stuff: poetry written by women that actually excites  the thinking reader. This anthology of work spanning the last seventy-five years will broaden readers’ notions of what defines erotic poetry. For what is more intriguing, more satisfying than strong, self-assured writing? This groundbreaking anthology includes our most popular women writers—among them Natalie Diaz, Nikki Giovanni, Louise Glück, Jane Hirshfield, Erica Jong, Dorianne Laux, Denise Levertov, Audre Lorde, Sharon Olds, Adrienne Rich, and Anne Sexton.

These poets fully demonstrate that, far from being prurient, the erotic can permeate even the mundane aspects of life—from reading a book  to buying clothes. 

At the same time, the collection affirms the enormous meaningfulness of poetry—its ability to express the inexpressible and to illuminate the most private and intimate of human experiences. The poets included here represent different ethnicities, sexualities, geographies, and social classes. Their commonality: they are women writing about sex.

Enid Shomer author photo

ENID SHOMER, anthology editor, is the author of four books of poetry and three of fiction, most recently the novel The Twelve Rooms of the Nile (Simon & Schuster, 2012). Her work has been collected in more than fifty anthologies and textbooks, including POETRY: A Harper Collins Pocket Anthology, Best American Poetry, and New Stories from the South. In 2013, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Writing from the Florida Humanities Council.