Erica Jong Calls Herself Her Husband’s ‘Deck Monkey’

“One of the things that starts happening when you reach your 50s and 60s is a lot of people you love start dying,” Erica Jong said last night during her book party at the New York Yacht Club near Times Square. Dressed in a bright red button-down with black epaulettes and handsomely diamond-studded flannel slippers, she was talking about her new collection of poetry, Love Comes First, and how a lot of the poems in it are about loss.

“Everything I’ve ever written comes out of the poetry,” Ms. Jong said, sipping red wine. “The poetry reminds me of where I came from. It keeps me in the world of the unconscious, the world of metaphor, the world of dreams. For me it’s essential.”

Nearby stood Ms. Jong’s co-hosts: the feminist writer Naomi Wolf, dressed in a sweater that from far away looked to be made of gold shavings, and Daphne Merkin, who said she was going home soon to finish a book review for the Daily Beast.

“One of the things that starts happening when you reach your 50s and 60s is a lot of people you love start dying,” Erica Jong said last night during her book party at the New York Yacht Club near Times Square. Dressed in a bright red button-down with black epaulettes and handsomely diamond-studded flannel slippers, she was talking about her new collection of poetry, Love Comes First, and how a lot of the poems in it are about loss.

“Everything I’ve ever written comes out of the poetry,” Ms. Jong said, sipping red wine. “The poetry reminds me of where I came from. It keeps me in the world of the unconscious, the world of metaphor, the world of dreams. For me it’s essential.”

Nearby stood Ms. Jong’s co-hosts: the feminist writer Naomi Wolf, dressed in a sweater that from far away looked to be made of gold shavings, and Daphne Merkin, who said she was going home soon to finish a book review for the Daily Beast.

A large screen mounted off to the side and away from Ms. Jong’s guests showed a video of the author reading from the book in Central Park. Earlier, she had recited a few of the poems aloud.

“We’ve never had a party here before,” she said, looking around the spacious wood-paneled hall. Charming model yachts stood on display in tall glass cases, and a comically large fireplace filled with logs. Her husband, Ms. Jong said, was a member of the club.

“I love to sail and my husband is a mad sailor,” she said. “We keep our boat in Norwalk, Connecticut. I’m his deck monkey!”

She called over her daughter, Molly Jong-Fast, an author in her own right who recently took a job as a literary agent with David Vigliano Associates. Both mother and daughter took off their shoes.

A moment later Ms. Jong-Fast was talking about her new career.

“I sort of liberated myself to be a capitalist,” she said. “My whole life I’ve thought, ‘Ohhhh, I have to be an artist!’”

By around 8:30 the crowd had thinned; a few Yacht Club professionals carried out a tray of uneaten dessert cakes the size of softballs. The Daily Transom lingered to ask Ms. Jong’s husband about the model yachts.