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So, Fiona Pitt-Kethley ‘can employ but at the same time heighten … such language as men and women really use’, and that saves her from the charge of insulting women and men in her crude artless poetry? I don’t think William Guy (Letters, 26 July) is answering the question. The line ‘while lover boy is fiddling with my tits’ offends because it is unhealthy for sexual partners to spectate. Never mind the question of love, this is a recognised pathological problem. One partner will spectate, and not fully participate, in order to retain power, humiliating the responsive or giving partner. That way, you can both cash in and disparage. These are some of the worries dealt with in Ian Hamilton’s excellent ‘Soliloquy’ (LRB, 26 July). To write brutally is to start to think brutally.
Victoria University of Wellington,