Erica Jong is an American author and teacher best known for her fiction and poetry.
A 1963 graduate of Barnard College, and with an M.A. in 18th century English Literature from Columbia University (1965), Jong is best known for her first novel, Fear of Flying (1973), which created a sensation with its frank treatment of a woman's sexual desires. Although it contains many sexual elements, the book is mainly the account of a young, hypersensitive woman, in her late twenties, trying to find who she is and where she is going. It contains many psychological, humorous, descriptive elements, and rich cultural and literary references. The book tries to answer the many ... more »
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Erica Jong Poems
Beast, Book, Body
I was sick of being a woman, sick of the pain, the irrelevant detail of sex, my own concavity
I want to understand the steep thing that climbs ladders in your throat. I can't make sense of you. Everywhere I look you're there--
Letter to My Lover After Seven Years
You gave me the child that seamed my belly & stitched up my life.
On the first night of the full moon, the primeval sack of ocean broke,
I sit at home at my desk alone as I used to do on many sunday afternoons
For Naomi Lazard Sometimes I can't wait until I look like Nadezhda Mandelstam. -- Naomi Lazard
After the Earthquake
After the first astounding rush, after the weeks at the lake, the crystal, the clouds, the water lapping the rocks, the snow breaking under our boots like skin,
The Poem Cat
Sometimes the poem doesn't want to come; it hides from the poet like a playful cat
Now, moving in, cartons on the floor, the radio playing to bare walls, picture hooks left stranded in the unsoiled squares where paintings were,
The decorum of fire... -- Pablo Neruda We learned the decorum of fire,
Smoke, it is all smoke in the throat of eternity. . . . For centuries, the air was full of witches Whistling up chimneys
The End of the World
Here, at the end of the world, the flowers bleed as if they were hearts, the hearts ooze a darkness
Flying at Forty
You call me courageous, I who grew up gnawing on books,
Dear Colette, I want to write to you about being a woman for that is what you write to me.
Quotationsmore quotations »
''Where is Hollywood located? Chiefly between the ears. In that part of the American brain lately vacated by God.''Erica Jong (b. 1942), U.S. author. "Hello to Hollywood ...," epigraph, How To Save Your Own Life (1977).
''Jealousy is all the fun you think they had.''Erica Jong (b. 1942), U.S. author. How To Save Your Own Life, epigraph to "Bennett tells all in Woodstock ... ," (1977).
To name oneself is the first act of both the poet and the revolutionary. When we take away the right to an individual name, we symbolically take away the right to be an individual. Immigration officia...Erica Jong (b. 1942), U.S. author. How To Save Your Own Life, epigraph to "My posthumous life ...," (1977).
''Every country gets the circus it deserves. Spain gets bullfights. Italy gets the Catholic Church. America gets Hollywood.''Erica Jong (b. 1942), U.S. author. "Take the Red-Eye....," Epigraph, How To Save Your Own Life (1977).
''Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads.''Erica Jong (b. 1942), U.S. author. "The Artist as Housewife," The First Ms. Reader, ed. Francine Kragbrun (1972).
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
Beast, Book, Body
I was sick of being a woman,
sick of the pain,
the irrelevant detail of sex,
my own concavity
and emptier whenever it was filled,
and filled finally
by its own emptiness,
seeking the garden of solitude
instead of men.
The white bed
in the green garden--
I looked forward
to sleeping alone
the way some long
for a lover.
Even when you arrived,
I tried to beat you
away with my sadness,
my cynical seductions,
and my trick of
turning a slave
into a master.
And all because