The Pornographer's Poem

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A first-hand account of the life of an unnamed pornographic filmmaker, who at age sixteen, gets his first taste of adult cinema. He shoots his first film, surreptitiously capturing his neighbors having sex on their back porch and discovering that through representations of sexual activity he can comment on what he finds both painful and confusing. In the films that follow, the narrator imagines in positions of dominance those who are disadvantaged in their everyday lives, now sexually belittling those who have once held them down. Nettie, an idealistic poet and the one person with whom the narrator genuinely connects, sees in pornography the opportunity to do something artistic, liberating, and socially relevant. She pushes him to make even more subversive films but, ultimately, despite his radical intentions, the narrator falls into a world of greed, delusion, and hypocrisy, the same world he once rebelled against. Investigating the ways in which lives are remembered and reconstructed, Turner works backwards and forwards in time with unerring attention to subtle shifts in voice and experience. But this is not a wistful recounting, for the retelling of the protagonist's story is at the behest of an authoritative, unforgiving tribunal of interrogators.