The Keats-Shelley Blog

10 February 2021

Erica Jong’s Writing Advice for Young Romantics

In December 2020 Erica Jong spoke to the Keats-Shelley Podcast about her lifelong love of John Keats. Although she is best known for her bestselling novels Fear of Flying, Parachutes and Kisses, and Fear of Dying, Erica began her literary career as a poet, and has published ever since: most recently The World Began with Yes.

Erica Jong

During our conversation we asked Erica what advice she would offer our Young Romantics, aged between 16 and 18, who were entering 2021’s Poetry and Essay Prizes.

Listen to the results below.

Read Erica’s poem Dear Keats. Written in 1973 when Erica was 31, it begins:

Already six years past your age!
The steps in Rome,
the house near Hampstead Heath,
& all your fears
that you might cease to be
before your pen had glean’d. . . .

My dear dead friend,
you were the first to teach me
how the dust could sing.

Listen to Erica discuss the poem with Paul Muldoon during a New Yorker podcast.

Read Erica’s poem Dear Keats, which she wrote aged 31 in 1973. Listen to her discuss it with Paul Muldoon during a New Yorker podcast.

Erica’s website is

Read about 2021’s Keats-Shelley Prize.

Read about 2021’s Young Romantics Prize.