Poetry and sex have always shared an inextricable bond. The passion, the lyrical use of languageis there anything better than a love poem to get a young maiden (or man) to go out with you? Now, the bond between dating and sweet, sweet words is getting more intimate than ever: Grindr has hired its first poet in residence.
British writer Max Wallis, who explores modern interpretations of sexuality in his work, has been commissioned to produce poetry for the gay social networking app’s forthcoming digital platform “Into.”
Wallis’ poetry will look at sex and what it means to be gay in 2017, but his poems won’t be limited to the world of dating and hookup apps.
“The topic is as much gay experiences in general as [it is] the app. But, as [Grindr] is part of that experience, it will be a source of inspiration to an extent,” says Wallis.
“The first poem, ‘Remnants,’ is about what you leave behind physically and psychologically after sex; one of the next video poems will be about social media,” Wallis continues.
According to Wallis, “Remnants” is partly inspired by Emily Dickinson; it speaks to the ways we cling to what’s left behind from a sexual experience (think messed-up sheets and cigarette butts).
Wallis will produce a video poem each month which will be flashed in the app as well as published on Into. He’ll write the poems in free verse, and each video will thread into the next, feeding into a wider narrative about what he describes as “the gay experience.”
Wallis will also play a character in the videos; viewers can expect to see his character on dates with two different men.
Grindr has yet to confirm a release date, stating “a few things are still in the works for the new platform.” Wallis plans to shoot the second and third films this Sunday.
“Poetry is about distilling an experience. If there’s a platform for the gay experience, and to celebrate that, all the better,” says Wallis.
This isn’t the first time a writer has been appointed to an unconventional residency. Alain de Botton was commissioned in 2009 as writer in residence at Heathrow Airport, spending a week-long stint in the middle of Terminal Five’s departure hall. Currently, Minnesota’s Mall of America is also looking for a writer in residence.
“The truth is, there is no ‘proper’ subject for poetry,” writes Wallis. “All of life is its subject. Nothing should be out of bounds.”
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