Dating in the 21st century is no easy feat, as love, sex, intimacy, and more become increasingly complex. As technology becomes a larger part of our social lives, connection is closer than ever—yet so far away. To unpack the fraught nature of dating in the modern age, we’ve selected five poignant poetry collections on 21st-century dating.
A Boy in the City by S. Yarberry
In S. Yarberry’s vivid debut collection, intimacy and the cosmopolitan collide. With playful allusions to Greek myths and fables, gender, desire, and the glamour of the fast life come under fire.
But of course, there is a movement—
cum and fog—
revolution without beginning. How does one achieve eternal bliss? By saying: Mr. Mr. in the plainest of language. I occur. A cat meows. I want the heart of a tree when it has been raining. I want a stupendous smugness, and the self— as gentle as concern— to dispense its terrible truth.
A Hundred Lovers: Poems by Richie Hofmann
Sublime, steamy, and frank, A Hundred Lovers: Poems analyzes intimacy through a modern lens and against the backdrop of classical painting, sculpture, and music. With a sense of modernity and history, Richie Hoffman raises ever-relevant questions about monogamy and desire.
Water turning a mill wheel,
serving nothing but artifice.
I am a servant
to order and erotic love.
Soon to be
You take a picture
of me by a trellis
both of us failing
at the vernacular style.
In the Temple of God
God I Feel Modern Tonight by Catherine Cohen
Quippy and captivating, God I Feel Modern Tonight takes on themes of heartbreak, sex, self-care, and love with a uniquely millennial sense of humor. In her debut collection, comedian-turned-poet Catherine Cohen becomes the larger-than-life best friend we never knew we were missing.
in L.A. we got naked and swam in the ocean
we ate cured meats and carrots
& sat in the back of a red pickup truck
like we were in a film where two old friends fight
& wrestle their way into a hug
heave-sobbing as the dust settles
I want to be famous for being the first person
who never feels bad again
In Real Life by Leticia Sala
Love, infatuation, language, and technology fall under the microscope in this bilingual novel-in-verse. In Real Life tells the story of a young woman in Barcelona who forges an online romance with someone in New York City. At once contemporary and universal, this beautifully crafted collection expresses love, loss, grief, and self-reflection.
I never thought the word ‘typing’
could wax so luminous.
While waiting while holding on, I imagine
the millions of words
you might write for me,
unready as I am
the single word
with which you finally
Useful Junk by Erika Meitner
Poet Erika Meitner’s sixth collection, Useful Junk, harnesses the power of observation to explore memory, desire, and the body. In a world of strip malls, supermarkets, and subway platforms, Meitner finds the daily intimacies that make up our embodied experience and drive our desire.
The Woman across the aisle from me
reading The Celestine Prophecy has a
tattoo on her foot in Latin but I can’t
make out the exact phrase as I am not
magic or wearing my glasses. Before
boarding, I ate a sausage biscuit in a
plastic clamshell at a table where
we were all plugged in to a greater
current, charging our appendages.
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