Love and Fuck Poems, Koraly Dimitriadis Review.

An important book men should read.
Koraly Dimitriadis, Love and Fuck Poems, Review.

James WF Roberts

WARNING: This Blog contains sexually explicit material.

NB: No cash has changed hands for this review. I know Koraly through the poetry scene in Melbourne but we are not close friends we don’t go to dinner parties or frequent the same bars. I am writing this review purely out of my love and respect for her as an Artist and for the merits of which I believe her writing holds.

This edition of my blog could be considered X-RATED. So if you are not allowed to read this blog because you are a very sheltered school girl, you will no doubt read it. Or if you are fully grown adolescent man you will love it also. (Yes that that last term is a deliberate joke so please don’t try to say you can’t get an adolescent man—and then I will point out the average Australian Male).

The one thing I truly love about the Melbourne Poetry Scene, is that there are so many tastes catered for. So many different styles, themes and explorations possible. This edition we are exploring Sex…dirty, nasty, listless sex…with diagrams and all…I’m kidding, it’s not really that bad. But for those who don’t like the arrangement of certain letters to make a certain four-letter word, than this is not the page for you my friend.

What some commentators have said;

“Koraly writes in a voice that you need to hear. Her pride and passion is powerful, vulnerable, tentative, strong. The way she fucks with our sense of φιλότιμο—pride—will be chillingly resonant and painfully desirable to women from our community who have refused themselves a voice.”

Esther Anatolitis, CEO, Melbourne Fringe
“Love and Fuck Poems is exactly what poetry should be—personal, passionate and bold. It goes to places many poets avoid, shining light on humanity’s dark side, allowing the reader the rare opportunity of feeling included in the experience through the clarity and honesty of the work.” Paul Kooperman, National Director, Australian Poetry

“This is the sort of poetry we need. It has a love of the resonance of words, but most importantly, huge courage and surprising insight. Provocative, sure, but not provocation purely for its own sake—Dimitriadis’ poems are explosively political and humane.” Andy Jackson, winner, 2008 Arts ACT Rosemary Dobson Award

I wonder where to start this edition…it is tempted to jump in on the previously explosive discussion on line of Pornography in Art…but I will save that for another time, especially when my erotic horror collection is finished then we shall see some very angry penguins scribbling out words in libraries. That does happen in certain places in this country, I have seen it in Bendigo.

Koraly Dimitriadis is a Cypriot-Australian spoken word artist, poet and writer. I have seen her perform on several occasions in Melbourne now, and the one thing that that I think stands out the most about her performances and indeed the poetry she writes, is her vulnerability and yet there is a ferocious blend to this vulnerability. The tag line on her website for this amazing collection reads, “Sexually repressed, separated Greek girl on a rampage. There’s no love here, just fucks. But is she fucking him or fucking herself? Love and Fuck poems. A 52 page story told through poetry. No fluff, no birds and trees, just honest, raw, poetry.”.

But there is more to this collection than meets the eye. As we shall see, there is a true voice of the people going on here. There are age old questions bubbling under the surface, that I find extremely fascinating, possibly even more fascinating because, most of the reviews I have had read of Koraly’s work seem to just focus on the usage of graphic sexual imagery, swearing etc…that is a travesty, in my opinion that people are can’t seem to be able to read between the lines of this highly talented and very visceral writer. I call Koraly a visceral writer, because once she has seduced you into the first few lines of the collection, without realizing it you are suddenly on a butcher’s table and she is both using a sledge hammer and scalpel to peel away layer upon layer of your flesh, of your own emotional baggage.

This is a symbiotic experience for both the writer and the reader. This can either be a pleasurable experience (if you are into that kind of thing…) or it is a deeply traumatic experience, yet Koraly’s words seem to be able to both arouse and repel you. Which is an astounding feat by anyone, especially a 21st Century Poet—yes I am a poetry snob. I am a Blakean. But I am getting an education on modern poetics, by being on stage around Melbourne.

The most appealing aspect to this collection, is it’s tone. Koraly is a modern woman, and her readership, no doubt is the modern woman, this why it works. The connectivity of her words, using immediate imagery, everyday speech, is a Godsend. Koraly isn’t writing Rilke’s elegies, nor is she trying to.
There of course has been a fairly large backlash from a lot of the more ‘established poets’ going around. I am not sure if this is from jealousy or they just don’t get it. Poetry is about expression, refinement, sensory understanding, but it is also about Sex and it’s primal, angry, blissful, terrifying sides. For a contemporary poet, not to discuss the matters of gender, sexuality and hurtful and dangerous attractions, in my opinion, is not living in this century.

The tone of this collection is one of a private diary…or is it? The voice brings you into the action, almost immediately. There is no deep breath before the plunge—there is just the plunge. I do not agree, with some people, who have said that Koraly’s work lacks ‘intellectual distance between what she feels and what it means to feel that way,’
When we are going through a crisis of emotion, if our car has been stolen, or a family member killed in a road accident, do we actually take the time to stop and reflect on the feelings we should be feeling? Or do we just feel them, and act the way we do because of those feelings? The fact that there is little self-awareness in the poems, helps its immediacy, I think. Koraly doesn’t do the standard Australian poet thing of composing an ingenious first verse, then spend the next six verses explaining it all (you think I am wrong, look at some 1960s/70s and 1980s Australian poetry).

I’m pretty comfortable with my sexuality. Not much shocks me. I think deep down everyone is pretty much a pervert, and only a few people at anyone time ever have the guts to admit it. This is not a perverted book. This is a lot tamer than the very famous poetry collection known as Monkey’s Mask. There are no threesomes with high school girls and a middle aged couple, no lesbian full-blown lesbian trysts and no strangulation of said teenage girls in the middle of sex.

I don’t find Koraly’s frank and openness a problem. In fact, I think it is rather refreshing. I find the prudish nature of established poetry very strange. Poetry always seems to be going through issues of identity. “Poetry is this…” but I would love for someone to actually tell me what “this is”. And I think some of the issues with Koraly’s collection, has come through this very problem.

The first piece in this collection is a warning. It’s a song to Sappho and Calliope, it is a warning for the reader to take care. Because they will be changed when they get through this collection.   With the opening piece, Volcano, she states, “You say I’m a volcano
Spurting my poetry like magma…..No one goes near a Volcano andthe ones that do never survive”

Is Koraly taunting us here? We will survive? Will our views on sexuality, on poetry survive delving deeply into this collection? So is the Poet born? She bursting out of the fires of the primordial sludge, with her pen and paper in hand ready for the job poet? Is the poet separate from the poem? Is the magma completely separate from the volcano itself? What is a Volcano without spurting out magma it’s a dormant mountain—what is the Poetess without the Poems she writes? Is that the beginning of this collection? We have entered a new realm?

You cannot stand beside one and any villages nearby are obliterated by eruptions Red-tempered, unapologetic a volcano shows no mercy,”.

Koraly, I think is warning us here. She will not be made to feel sorry for her children, her spurting magma, her poetry. And all we will crumble around her. Whoever has made this God vengeful better look out.

Koraly is tempting us to open the book…I don’t know about you but I am willing to take this journey on.
There are lots of colours to this collection. It moves, I think from persona to persona. Some people have said this is Koraly’s teenage diary. I don’t think so, I think this is more a collection for women who have been fucked over by men…and let’s face it, us men, well if we get uncomfortable in parts of this book, I think it’s our own bloody fault. There’s an air in this collection of modern alienation, of disassociation. At time the persona/narrator of the poems is lost, angry, bitter and is seeking revenge. None of this is better illustrated than in the poem Gotcha! “Gotcha, ha ha, found ya you think you can hide from me? Me?
Don’t you know who I am?…Blink_____Cancel____Cancel that.____”

It’s actually hard for me to read Koraly’s poetry, without hearing her voice reciting them. I have seen her numerous times at poetry events now, performing and hosting and I guess once you have heard a poet do their own work, I guess sometimes their nuances of enunciation get stuck in your head. That is good and bad I think. But this does work for anyone who has never read her before, or more importantly has never heard her recite her own work before.

Of course we could spend a long time discussing what this poem is really about, as we all know there is usually more below the surface than there is in plain sight. That is the joy of good poetry. And the curse of bad poetry. Sometimes perceived hidden meanings over shadow what’s really at stake.

However, this is a fun revenge poem, because we can all relate with it. I like this poem a lot because of its inherent authenticity. I think most of us have gone through similar episodes in life, where we can’t help but look at the life of our Ex through social networking. How we are bitter. How we want closure and revenge…is that a twang of guilt at the end? Is that a tiny modicum of acceptance or is it just you don’t want to be hacked yourself?

I find it deliciously tempting to post almost every poem in this book and analysis them to within an inch of their life, but there has already been enough of that on line already, and I don’t think I could add all that much to the analysis of this work, that hasn’t already been stated from a technical and a poetical point of view. That is why I am doing an inter-personal response to them.

These are personal poems, which need the personal touch I feel. So I am going to speak along to the most controversial and the most impressive poem in this collection.

The ambiguous/unambiguous Y-O-U in Koraly’s collection is interesting. Who is the YOU? Who is the Man who retreats constantly from passion into shame, who morphs his way along every different texture and metaphor of Koraly’s style. Is Koraly telling us a multi-layered story, constantly switching views? Is this the same woman constantly going through a cycle of never-ending misery, unfulfilled sexual unions, heartbreak, revenge, murderous intent…is this is her diary? Or is this an archetypal diary? Is moonlighting as every woman? Is the narrator/persona the same throughout? I feel their a deceit going on here.

And I love it. Is every poem a different play, not different scenes in the same play, but a whole other play, in a different theater across town? Is this a tome for the modern woman? Is this a collection that is running simultaneously in Frankston, or Northcote, or Sydney, Manhattan, Soho?

How to get a fuck

The only way to get a guy
is to become one.
Let’s not pretend here
We, live in a MAN’S world

So get with the program…..
Focus on the physical
Chase the fuck not the feel
Guys are experts,
you can do it too

Don’t believe him when he has no time
he’s got three or four on the side
He just wants a fuck
to slide into your cunt
to ram you against the wall
pull your hair, stare….
……and insert it into my chest
See the square I’m cutting?

Hammer it shut
a nail for every time
I said I wouldn’t and I did
hammer it again….
Hey guy from across the bar, you like what you see?
Come over here, you want to fuck with me?
You haven’t got the balls to deal with me.
Don’t worry I’ll only take what I need.
You can penetrate my cunt
but I’ll be fucked if I let any guy
ever again, penetrate my SOUL”
I don’t see how this is as controversial as it has been made to be. Is this Koraly’s life on a Saturday night, I doubt whether it is a common experience, but if it is who the Hell cares? I have gone nightclubbing many times in my life, to parties, out to pubs and to risk sounding sexist, many women behave like this now. They are dressed to kill, so-to-speak. We have and overly saturated sexual world now, more so than ever before. Is this poem a feminist rant? Is it placing all caution to the wind and jumping in hell for leather? If it’s both who cares. It’s intense. It smolders when you read it. This is ain’t a chick who is going take anyone’s crap anymore.

And isn’t that a good thing? I would like to add a quick aside here, I thin in the realm of sexual politics and behaviour I firmly believe women hold more cards than they used to, if not all of them, and if this is a celebration of that fact, than what’s the problem? Sexuality is aggressive now. It’s not like the character/the persona Koraly is talking about is a out right slut, she is not placing speed or Ice on her tongue and going around pashing random strangers and fucking them up against the wall in the alleyway—that might happen later but there is more at work here…

Don’t fight it, don’t deny it
This is life, get with the program

Here, watch me take this knife
and insert it into my chest
See the square I’m cutting?
See that?”

She is telling her Sisters and the Men who are reading this, that this is just sex. If Men can chase skirts why can’t women chase trousers? And seriously let’s be honest my brothers, we are bastards, it’s not hard for most men, most men that I know anyway, to look back in our past, recent or ancient to see how much we have fucked over a woman, or many women, why can’t a woman by more like a man, to quote George Bernard Shaw?

Poetry should reflect the life that is happening around it. We are known as a nation of drunks, yet to write about alcohol or cigarettes and deliver a public performance piece in honour of them does seem at time cheap, repugnant, now we have a highly-sexualized culture so why can’t either be reflected? Again, I think we have the problem of the problematic/unproblematic Y-O-U. But, is there really a problem by not identifying who the YOU/Man is? That delightful ambiguous second person pronoun, a billion different interpretations, who is You who is the man?

But, maybe by looking at the word YOU itself is it a warning to the reader? The generic ‘man’ or if we take that word and turn it back in on itself? What do we get? Is the Poet/persona/narrator giving herself a warning of what life may become for her? With dozens of interpretations? Could the YOU be Koraly and the Persona/Narrator a view from a different woman? How to Get Fuck, is obviously not an instructional lesson in how to copulate at will, as an idea for a satirical poem, that might work just as effectively.

“The only way to get a guy
is to become one.
Let’s not pretend here
We, live in a MAN’S world

So get with the program”

It’s been said before, but I will say it again. The comma after ‘we’ in the fourth line, is clever. Is it a resignation to her fate? Are women still be ruled over in a patriarchal society. I am not going to go in depth, too much more on this poem, and I am not going to march this poem around as a feminist rant, it is what it is and there are many layers to it. But, that resignation to her fate of being the sexual aggressor? Or is it the resignation of the fate of the crap women have to deal with?

Think like a man who objectifies women? I can tell you in my single days, I had no problem with women objectifying me, and I guess that is the problem, the difference between men and women.

Anger and revenge, is given it’s own life in this collection, it doesn’t just merely wave it’s hand and say, ‘I’m anger’ it walks in, takes off it’s high heels and impales everyman in the room.

“Hey guy from across the bar, you like what you see?
Come over here, you want to fuck with me?
You haven’t got the balls to deal with me.
Don’t worry I’ll only take what I need.
You can penetrate my cunt
but I’ll be fucked if I let any guy
ever again, penetrate my SOUL”

I keep seeing Koraly standing at the bar, putting egging on every macho, wanna-be Don Juan to step up to the plate and see how good they really are…and she ain’t having a bar of any of them.

There is a resignation to fate of the woman of this collection, in the second last poem, “Starting to Learn. “It’s scary, but I don’t think I’ve ever loved before. But, I’m starting to learn, what it might be like”.
This book is cathartic. The last poem is a proclamation, “temple”; “my body is temple you shall not pass unless you are worthy of my communion. I have been angry vandalized my spirit but I needed to do that to arrive, here”.
I find this collection strange at times. It’s easy to say that this collection is not to everyone’s taste, that is rather obvious. Our society is strange our children watch pornographic music videos at 9AM on Saturday mornings with their toast and orange juice, sex in all of our advertising even in our protest movements—remember the stupid PETA campaign, when a woman is marked up like a side of beef? Yet, when a woman in Australia writes a collection of poetry that has sex on pretty much every page and FUCK in its title people get scared? What is that book series out now? Shades of Grey that has like 5 billion sequels to it already?

Why can’t poetry take on this subject from a subjective view point. There is an article going around at them moment about how Good Poetry is Subversive, as good poetry makes you think, and so does Koraly.

A lot of female critics have really roasted Koraly over the coals for this collection, judging by what I have read in the press and Online and I don’t see their justification. I wonder if they are a little bit prudish or they are just jealous as Koraly had the guts to write about this stuff.

Maybe their justification is that there is not much in the way of resolution throughout the collection. The resolution we do get is not in my opinion a feminist one, but rather of a still young and vibrant woman and poet looking for love and wanting a better tomorrow.

I said earlier that men should read this book and I still maintain that line. This is one of the best insights into how women feel about sex that any man will ever come across. Maybe this should be compulsary reading in Literature Courses at Tafe and Uni’s, because I can see this collection making a greater statement than maybe the author had in mind.

Bringing people together through discussions of sexuality, love and relationships, rather than trying to shock and elicit negative responses.

For copies of this book Online or to find out the nearest bookshop that has this in your area please refer to

and please check some of her poetry out on her page and on youtube.

About jameswfrobertsdapoet

Emerging Poet and Writer. From Bendigo, Victoria, Australia. I present a show called Crazy Talk/Word Berserk, on I believe in what Phoenix has to offer. No where else will you get the diversity of Gospel, Country music shows, Koori themed shows and Poetry and Experimental music? My father, Bryan did a show on 3CCC in the 1980’s called the Keyboard Hour for a bout 8 years, until he died. That is partly why I joined Phoenix but mainly it’s because of the diversity we offer people and also I really do feel that we are an important vehicle, an important voice for the Community at Large. My interests are Poetry, Literature, Music, Movies, Cultural Awareness and Philosophical pursuits. My show is basically a Late Night Radio Show for Artists, Poets, Musicians and Creative Thinkers of all types to come and inform, enjoy, entertain and inspire each other. So join me and my guests from the local Artistic Community to be inspired, to be entertained and informed
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4 Responses to Love and Fuck Poems, Koraly Dimitriadis Review.

  1. libby charlton says:

    a beautiful piece of journalism

  2. It’s a man’s world–but real women make the shit go round.

  3. Em says:

    An intelligent review of a bold & subversive book; I especially enjoyed Love & Fuck Poems because of its unpretentiousness… I do not think it was intended as a universal comment on how women feel about sex, but rather, an empathy-inspiring journey into how one woman feels about the sex and relationships explored therein. It is indeed cathartic for the reader, relatable but not prescriptive or presumptive. The absence of a resolution works for Love & Fuck poems, as Koraly’s poems reflect life and experience in vivid, honest emotional detail, and – contrary to what fairy tales and Hollywood would have us believe – real life is intrinsically inconclusive; a mine of manifold subjective interpretations.

  4. Pingback: Junkee

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