Aphrodisia

By Richard Hoffman b. 1949 Richard Hoffman
Loves language is hyperbole, but whispered,
sibilant similes and promises sotto voce.
Its easy to imagine youve misheard,
 
the form and content clash, create this weird
distortion like an echo or a tape delay.
Loves language is hyperbole, but whispered.
 
On which do you place emphasis: The words?
Or the breath? The farfetched or the foreplay?
Its easy to imagine youve misheard
 
when objectivity has disappeared
and your lover is getting further carried away.
Loves language is hyperbole, but whispered
 
vows? Its hard to take him at his word,
or hers: Speak up! Proclaim! you want to say.
Its easy to imagine youve misheard,
 
hard to admit one sharp as you is stirred.
You need to back off, cool down, act blasé.
Loves language is hyperbole, but whispered.
Its easy to imagine youve misheard.

Richard Hoffman, “Aphrodisia” from Emblem. Copyright © 2011 by Richard Hoffman. Reprinted by permission of Barrow Street Press.

Source: Emblem (Barrow Street Press, 2011)

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Poet Richard Hoffman b. 1949

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Love, Desire, Romantic Love, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics

Poetic Terms Villanelle

 Richard  Hoffman

Biography

Poet and teacher Richard Hoffman earned a BA in English from Fordham University and an MFA in creative writing from Goddard College. He is the author of the poetry collections Without Paradise: Poems (2002) and Gold Star Road (2007), which was selected by Molly Peacock for the Barrow Street Press Poetry Prize and won the Sheila Motton Award from the New England Poetry Club. 

Hoffman is also the author of the memoir Half the House . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Desire, Romantic Love, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Villanelle

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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