You Will Love The Lesbian Sex Haiku Book (With Cats!)

Image: CoURTESY OF ILLUSTRATOR Kelsey Beyer, FROM THE BOOK The Lesbian Sex Haiku Book (With Cats!).
Anna Pulley's The Lesbian Sex Haiku Book (With Cats!)a collection of sharp, stereotype-mocking haiku alongside impossibly charming illustrations of cats in "various stages of lesbian anxiety" drawn by Pulley's girlfriend, Kelsey Beyer — has its origins in a dark period of Pulley's life.

"Basically, in 2010, my life fell apart," Pulley tells Refinery29. "My fiancée dumped me and my dad got lung cancer — he's much better now, thankfully — and I was working at an internship and making six dollars an hour in San Francisco... I was really struggling, and because of that, I fell into this weird writer's block, which had never been a problem for me before."
Pulley, an Oakland-based freelance writer whose work can be found in publications from New York magazine to Buzzfeed to Mother Jones, was at a loss for words until the day she realized she had forgotten to put on a bra before leaving for work that morning.

"This haiku, it just came to me — it was, 'You're an adult, you went to college, and yet you can't put a bra on in the morning' — it was something like that," she says. "I was like, Oh, I can write, I can write still! So I started writing these little short haikus because they were very emotionally accessible, and it sort of gave me something to do, aside from wallow in my own pain."

Pulley was writing haiku regularly when she met Beyer. "She happened to be drawing these lesbian cat birthday cards for her friends, and I loved them, and I was like, Oh my gosh, there's a possibility here," she says. "Our first series on The Toast, which is where we started publishing these, got interest right away from Flatiron, who turned out to be my publisher." The haikus tackle elements of lesbian experience from invasive family members ("No one ever says / that you 'just haven't met the / right ham sandwich yet'"!) to signs that you're a queer girl ("You've got 99 / problems and 98 of / them are your 'bitches'") to proposal ideas ("Spell out 'Marry me?' / in millet on the vegan / carob muffin cake").

The poems are humorous, and the illustrations amplify their whimsy, but they touch on serious questions of representation, erasure, and intersectionality. "I drop a lot of queer literary references in there that I'm hoping people will be curious [about], like, Why do I talk about Audre Lorde putting bananas in her vagina?, which is actually from her memoir Zami," Pulley says. And while Pulley does hope that all readers of the book will find it entertaining, she's also hoping to instill a feeling of connection, regardless of readers' sexualities or gender identities: "a sense of camaraderie, a sense of Oh, that's happened to me, I totally understand that, I know what it's like to be in a long-term relationship, I know how awful it is to date on OkCupid or Tinder."

"Also, if the queer ladies are listening," Pulley adds, "I do want them to just ask the girl out already. I feel like that's a big, big thing that we just don't do, we just like, cower in a corner and hope that someone makes the first move — that's not going to work!"

Read on for an excerpt of The Lesbian Sex Haiku Book (With Cats!); then, click through to Amazon for your copy.
Image: CoURTESY OF ILLUSTRATOR Kelsey Beyer, FROM THE BOOK The Lesbian Sex Haiku Book (With Cats!).
"My healing process was aided by two things: (1) a handful of beautiful, unavailable women and (2) an unwavering belief that poetry would make those women want to have sex with me. Of course this strategy failed a lot of times. (How often? It's not liked I counted. Fourteen.) But it also worked a great many times too. It led to a four-year sexy-romance-heart-tumble thing with a married woman who lived on the other side of the country. We wrote a lot of haiku to each other. Hundreds of them. It also led to a one-night stand with a straight girl I met on Twitter. It led to two fuck buddies developing feelings for each other and ceasing to fuck me (see Chapter 5, 'How Lesbian Sex Works'). It led me to bars (see Chapter 2, 'How To Pick Up A Lesbian') and sex parties and sex dungeons and spectacular rejections and spectacular hangovers and some truly amazing friendships (see Chapter 8, 'My Ex Is Your Ex'), and eventually it led to a fantastic girlfriend who didn't balk at all when I suggested we do a book together whereby she would draw cats in various states of lesbian anxiety."
From Chapter 5, "How Lesbian Sex Works: How Lesbian Sex Works In Long-Term Couples"

It is our two-week
anniversary! Break out
the organic lube!

The sweatpants from Old
Navy manage to stay on
the entire time.

When lesbians say
"all night long," they do not mean
forty-five minutes.

For the love of all
that's sacred: It's called foreplay.
Think outside my box!


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