“5,000 Prostitutes of Erice” by Sonia Feldman

Sonia Feldman



from Rattle #68, Summer 2020
Tribute to Postcard Poems


Sonia Feldman: “‘5,000 Prostitutes of Erice’ is a reflection on the history of the city as home to a historically significant temple of Venus. The temple at one point housed as many as 5,000 priestess prostitutes. Sailors visiting Sicily climbed Mount Erice to reach the temple and paid high prices to sleep with one of the holy human embodiments of Venus. The priestesses began sexual service as young as twelve years old and continued into their mid-twenties. All of my poems are written by hand at one point or another in their lifecycle, and I frequently mail handwritten versions of my poems to friends and family. It’s important to me that poems have a physical life and not just a digital one. The quality of the handwriting (for me often all caps in my journal and then normally capitalized in type) changes the poem. Besides, there’s something generous and unfussy in giving a poem away; if you have it, then I don’t.” (web)

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