• Kate

Unconventional Valentines

A little inspiration for Valentine's Day- Words, images, and music.



"Love! That red disease—"

— Anne Sexton

Relics of Saint Valentine

on the surface simplicity // but the darkest pit in me

One of Annie Oakley's Heart Targets

"I ain't afraid to love a man. I ain't afraid to shoot him, either." - Annie Oakley

Fatima Ronquillo

I ’ve got an arrow here; Loving the hand that sent it, I the dart revere.

- Emily Dickinson

"You are the knife I turn inside myself; that is love. That, my dear, is love."

- Franz Kafka, Letters to Milena.

Erotic miniature, given by Sarah Goodridge to her lover Daniel Webster in 1828

Lady Clementina Howard, c. 1860s

We see your arms grow humid In the heat; We see your damp chemise lie Pulsing in the beat Of the over-hearts left oozing At your feet.

See you sagging down with bulging Hair to sip, The dappled damp from some vague Under lip, Your soft saliva, loosed With orgy, drip.

- Djuna Barnes, "From Fifth Avenue Up"

I know your trail of tears, your slip of hand Your monkey claw, your monkey paw and your monkey hand And I've seen your trick of blood, your trap of fire Your ancient wound, your scarlet moon, your jail house smile

- Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, "Lament"

Calligramme by Guillaume Apollinaire: "My heart like an inverted flame."

Je goûte ton haleine plus exquise que la fumée Tendre et bleue de l’écorce du bouleau Ou d’une cigarette de Nestor Gianaklis Ou cette fumée sacrée si bleue Et qu’on ne nomme pas

- Apollinaire, "Jolie bizarre enfant chérie"

Peter Greenaway's "Prospero's Books"

“This is a small, slim, scented volume bound in red and gold, with knotted crimson ribbons for page-markers. There is certainly an image in the book of a naked man and a naked woman. Everything else is conjecture.”

Hiroshima, Mon Amour

Like a nocturnal flower there in the shadow

I shall softly open for you.

- Delmira Agustini, “The White Book (Fragile),” 1907.

"La petite mort," French school, 18th century.

"If we follow the trajectory of eros we consistently find it tracing this same route: It moves out from the lover toward the beloved, then ricochets back to the lover himself and the hole in him, unnoticed before. Who is the real subject of most love poems? Not the beloved. It is that hole."

- Anne Carson, "Eros the Bittersweet."

Patroclus by Jacques-Louis David (1780)

" Ton corps est blanc comme le lis d'un pré que le faucheur n'a jamais fauché. Ton corps est blanc comme les neiges qui couchent sur les montagnes, comme les neiges qui couchent sur les montagnes de Judée, et descendent dans les vallées. Les roses du jardin de la reine d'Arabie ne sont pas aussi blanches que ton corps."

- Oscar Wilde, Salome

"A valentine written on a broken man." Hannibal, Season 3.

Joyous Love seemed to me, the while he held My heart within his hands, and in his arms

My lady lay asleep wrapped in a veil.

He woke her then and, trembling and obedient,

She ate that burning heart out of his hand;

Weeping I saw him then depart from me.

- Dante’s first sonnet, La Vita Nuova.

Germaine Krull, "Les Amies"

Pour engloutir mes sanglots apaisés Rien ne me vaut l'abîme de ta couche; L'oubli puissant habite sur ta bouche, Et le Léthé coule dans tes baisers.

To drown my sorrow there is no abyss, However deep, that can compare with your bed. Forgetfulness has made its country your red Mouth, and the flowing of Lethe is in your kiss.

- Baudelaire, "Le Léthé," translation by George Dillon

Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet

"We're more of the love, blood, and rhetoric school: We can do you blood and love without the rhetoric, and we can do you blood and rhetoric without the love, and we can do you all three concurrent or consecutive. But we can't give you love and rhetoric without the blood. Blood is compulsory. They're all blood, you see."

- Tom Stoppard, "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead."


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