Michael Perkins


David Meltzer's "Fierce Moral Tracts"

by David Meltzer
Essex House, 1968

In celebrating David Meltzer's literary achievements, his eleven erotic novels should not be overlooked. When Essex House began publishing erotic novels in the 1960s, it was with the aim that many of them should be written by poets. The second novel to appear in the new line was Meltzer's The Agency. In it, and in the novels that followed, he conveys a poetic vision in spare, allusive prose. He also uses techniques special to speculative fiction and satire.

Meltzer has called these novels "fierce moral tracts," and although his work is crowded with vividly erotic scenes, their effect is more often frightening than arousing. In a sense, his eroticism is an indictment of sex, because it usually involves the exploitation of others.


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