‘What will I do now, with my hands?’ – Writing Queer Sex

‘What will I do now, with my hands?’ – Writing Queer Sex

Learn to write directly, imaginatively, tenderly, and fearlessly about the different shapes, tastes, and textures of queer sex.

‘Even amongst my favourite queer writers, sex was glossed over right! We collapsed on the bed, and afterward as the light came through … ’  – Ocean Vuong 

As Vuong outlines, there is often a fade-to-black when it comes to queer sex. The visceral language of bodies in communion is skipped over, left to the reader’s imagination. This course asks what lingers in the omission; and what of the poetics that speaks to the silence, that doesn’t skip to the next page but instead sheds light on the language of bodies otherwise hidden. 

On a recent flight back to London, I was watching the latest episode of The L Word, Generation Q on my phone – I refuse to make a guilty pleasure disclaimer here – the one where Shane and Tess finally get together. For a long moment I considered fast forwarding the sex scene, for fear of what the (presumably) straight middle-aged woman next to me would think. I pushed through the fear of judgement and watched the whole scene, fighting off the feeling that I was doing something wrong. This course exists to encourage us to pause, rewind, and even replay the sex scenes in our own writing that we may otherwise have an urge to fast forward. 

Have you ever skipped over writing about queer sex because you didn’t know how to word it? How to give it shape beyond the cliché, without casting your desire in the shadow of heterosexuality? I wanted to create this course because I found myself hesitating when writing sex in my own poems. Whether burdened by stale shame, or simply unsure of how to broach a topic that felt real to me, raw, and untranslated, I felt stuck. So, I went in search of poets who have managed to speak of queer desire, with specificity and imagination in voices wholly their own. 

In this course, we’ll explore the work of poets such as Jay Bernard, Richard Scott, Derrick Austen, Dean Atta, Brad Johnson, and more, who speak directly, imaginatively, tenderly, and fearlessly about the different shapes, tastes, and textures of queer sex. This course is for anyone who wants to find new and unburdened ways to speak of the push and pull of desire in their own poems. Who knows what other doors we might knock open in the process. 

5 fortnightly sessions over 10 weeks. No live chats. Suitable for UK & International students.  

To apply for a concessionary rate, please send relevant documentation showing your eligibility for one of our concessions to [email protected] Conditions of eligibility are detailed here. 

If you have any questions or wish to be added to the waiting list of a sold-out course, please email [email protected] For more information visit our Online Courses page. 

Image credit: Raphael Renter

About Remi Graves View Profile

Remi Graves is a London-based poet, facilitator, and drummer. A former Barbican Young Poet, Remi’s work has featured most recently in Fourteen Poems Queer Poetry Anthology and Platypus Press’ Islands Are But Mountains. Remi has been commissioned by St Paul’s Cathedral, Barbican and BBC Radio 4. Past projects include a residency at Croydon Library with Spine Festival and Remi was Digital Poet in Residence with 1215.today and The Poetry School. Remi has performed at Cheltenham Literature Festival, Tate Modern, and more.

‘The Poetry School has literally turned me into a poet – I couldn’t recommend them enough.’

— Spring 2021 survey

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