To say that we're living in strange, uncertain times is an understatement. This may strike some readers as an odd moment to share works of poetry & prose on the themes of sex, desire, & intimacy, but as we were compiling this anthology-- which also marks the 10th issue of bedfellows-- we were moved to reflect on our incredible luck as editors. When all of us must temporarily redraw our boundaries around physical closeness & touch, who isn't thinking about intimacy in some capacity? For some, this means heightened arousal, or revisiting familiar encounters with fresh eyes. For others, this means grappling with a need; what poets call Eros. For still others, this means difficult conversations around consent (to see or touch others), or an extended period of solitude that gives one time to draw inward & reflect.
Our guidelines have always been open-ended, encompassing not just conventionally erotic or sexually explicit work, but also writing that speaks to lack, apathy, humor, trauma, rage, & other complicated or less "sexy" feelings related to intimacy. When we reached out to all of our former contributors to ask for new work (with profuse apologies for asking during such times as these), we were floored by the response. The work included here is a testament to many of the countless ways in which desire & sexuality can be experienced, or how bodies can relate to each other, whether it's filthy or tender or quiet or something else entirely-- something that poems exist to show us.
It is our absolute delight to present the Little Black Book of Bedfellows, an anthology of new poetry & prose from roughly sixty of the amazing writers we’ve published since this magazine began in 2013. We will be publishing the issue online in "batches"; a collection will be released every two weeks. Given that many of us are now home & in front of screens more than ever, we hope each installment will be something to look forward to. Thank you for reading--- for your love & support.
The pleasure, as they say, is all ours.
Alina, Jack, Laura, & Béla