The erotics of ice cream in The Paris Review.
In “The Emperor of Ice Cream” (1922), Wallace Stevens invoked ice cream, with its “concupiscent curds,” as a symbol of eros triumphant—and in so doing, invented a genre: the modern ice-cream sex poem. Today, in honor of National Hot Fudge Sundae Day, we bring you two lesser-known examples from the Review’s archive.
In George MacBeth’s “Eating Ice-Cream with a Girl,” from our Winter–Spring 1962 issue, a park bench becomes the staging ground for a Lawrentian battle of libidos, with a little help from ice cream:
Her pink tongue, like a cat’s,
Darts out, licks,
Lingering on the cream.
Smiling a little, I watch
Her cross her legs, concerned
Only with what she eats.
In Thom Gunn’s “Sweet Things,” from our Summer 1979 issue, the speaker compares a childlike hunger for ice cream to his own hunger for sexual conquest:
We know delay makes pleasure great.
In our eyes, on our tongues,
we savor the approaching delight
of things we know yet are fresh always.
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