Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Seidel's PEACHES GOES IT ALONE: Poetry About Nude Schoolgirls & More...

We profiled the poet Frederick Seidel in The Allure of Nymphets and he continues to write about nympholepsy and age-discrepant attraction in his latest book Peaches Goes It Alone .. 
For example, the poem “Miss Charlotte” is about “undressed” schoolgirls “lying on top” of one another in a dorm-room of an all-girls boarding school, which caused aristocrats to take “cold showers”:

Bring back the all-girls boarding schools for pedigreed girls
Where, morning and night, girls dressed and undressed.
Luxurious lawns and trees rode to hounds.
Horses the girls owned waited in padded stalls. 

Think of the cold showers these aristocrates took.
Think of the dorm-room mirrors which sometimes saw
A cold girl lying on top of a warm girl
While a pretty girl with a pimply face on her bed on her back watched

The scene in the dorm-room reminded me of a scene in the controversial National Bestseller The End of Alice where imprisoned Chappy shared a story about his teen penpal:

She writes of the memory of one particular afternoon [...] The story is of coming into the cabin to collect her tennis racket and finding the two little girls from Louisville, Kentucky [...] lying across the top bunk, head to toe, the brunette’s narrow foot sweeping back and forth across the strawberry blonde’s nipple, the blonde’s jumpsuit unzipped and parted to the waist. When the lovebirds sighted the girl and smiled at her, there was a flash of light like an explosion, as the sun, reflecting off the brunette’s metal tooth-braces [...]

And I was reminded of a story that Humbert related in Lolita about one of Lolita’s tent-mates:

Her astounding tale started with an introductory mention of her tent-mate of the previous summer, at another camp, a “very select” one as she put it. The tent-mate [...] instructed her in various manipulations. [...] I wanted to know if either mother learned of those sapphic diversions? “Gosh no,” exhaled limp Lo [...] 

In 2016, Seidel was approximately 80-years-old; thus, his reference in the first two stanzas of “Thanksgiving 2016” to a girl with a “charming” face, a charming voice and a “beautiful ass” who could cure “depression” is revealing:

The girl with the face
As charming as her voice
Has a beautiful ass
Filling out her tan pants.

Depression doesn’t stand a chance
Confronted with this one!
What planet are you on
In your beret, singing?

“Near The New Whitney” is about the poet being “moonstruck” by Emily, a “gently lovely” maître d’, at a “charming restaurant” in the Meatpacking District. But after discussing the transformation of American art, the poet ended the poem with a desirable double entendre:

I drank an after-dinner tumbler of whiskey
Not far from the new Whitney,
A present from the maître d’.
Sweet Lagavulin single malt filled me with infinity
Sixteen years old, while the girl 
Smiled softly

Emily appears again in the fifth and sixth stanzas of “Worst When It’s Poetry”. This time she’s referred to as a “maiden” and “so young”:

There’s an Emily I met downtown recently.
Dante’s Beatrice suddenly appeared to me!
I don’t know her last name.
Dante famously never was the same.

A maiden I don’t know transfigured me
In one brief moment for eternity.
From one brief meeting with someone so young,
Dante translated to a higher sphere and left our days of dung. 

And the book is lightly peppered with stanzas that allude to nympholepsy. For example, in “In Late December”: She’s reading a paperback of Lolita, stealthily, behind the sign. And in “Abusers”: The little girl whose father invaded her/Became a woman who could not outgun/The little girl inside her who’s her father’s wife.

Lastly, here's one of the blurbs from the back of the book:

"There had never been a poet like this one before: the poet of a new contemporary form, a highlight reel-one spectacular feat after another [...]" - Dan Chiasson, The New York Review of Books

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