Sunday, March 30, 2008



The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel Edited by Reb Livingston and Molly Arden
(No Tell Books, 2006)

Sexy is a description that most people would not use in accordance with poetry. In fact, they sound like total opposites, living in different zip codes, occupying different realms of reality. Editors Reb Livingston and Molly Arden would not agree with this sentiment. The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel is an effort to fight back the claim that poetry cannot be sexy or provocative. Livingston and Arden say in their introduction that the poems within “do more than just awaken our eroticized zones…they’ve pricked out minds, twitched our senses, and reminded us why we started reading poetry in the first place.” Those sound like some good qualifications.

Many of the poems in the anthology were taken from the archives of No Tell Motel, the online literary magazine that Livingston and Arden edit. This should be no deterrent though. Many of the poems in the anthology deliver on “bringing sexy back.” Charles Jensen’s poem “Housewives” begins, “Sheer curtains – let’s just say it – drape like labia over the blank eyes of their suburban genitals.” Aaron Belz puts another humorous spin in one of his three “My Factotum” poems. One reads, “My factotum lives in France. / My factotum has no pants.”

There are a variety of poems in this anthology and most of them tingle the senses in some way. Some are funny, some are funny and erotic, some are erotic, and some are heartbreaking. There’s a sense of intimacy in these poems that can not be flushed out entirely. Just when a poem hits home with a feeling, it leads directly into another that may have been hidden under the surface. These poems do bring the sexy back. For anyone interested in the sexy, seedy side of poetry, this is the anthology. Leave the light on for these poems, you will be glad you did.


Nathan Logan was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, Crossroads of America. He is a MFA candidate at Minnesota State University Moorhead. His poetry and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in The Laundry Room, Lost at Sea, Lovechild, North Central Review, Robot Melon, and The Subterranean Review.

1 comment:

na said...

Other views are offered by Susana Gardner in GR #4 at

and William Allegrezza in GR #2 at