Here is an interesting case that seems very current. bell hooks also wrote an essay about having her books confiscated at Canada customs.
Cherry Seized in Canada
I am the author of 'Cherry,' an erotic novel about dyke life, set in present-day London, England. It's the first book in a new imprint of erotic fiction for lesbians and bisexual women. It was published in summer 2002 and is now being distributed around the world. Except Canada.
Canada Customs have repeatedly seized copies of my novel en route to small, independent queer bookshops, reviewers and distribution agents in their country because they believe the book is obscene. They are particularly upset about a reference to a consensual sex scene between two adult women that details "the insertion of a hand or a foot into a ******l orifice," that is, fisting.
Sometimes sex books can be released from 'detention' by Canada Customs if they are deemed by them to have 'Artistic Merit.' And despite its sexual content, reviewers and those who have read 'Cherry' have described it as having significant artistic merit, including characterisation, poetic use of language, plot development, etc. In short, it's not your run-of-the-mill porno (even if it was, that still wouldn't justify Canada Customs' heavy-handed censorship).
You might be surprised to find that a lot of literary fiction depicting peculiar sex acts and/or violence is allowed into Canada, including novels such as 'American Psycho' and 'Porno,' by Irvine Welsh. Moreover, books that have the protection of large corporate publishers and their lawyers also manage to sneak in. Canada Customs just seems to have a problem with the smaller scale stuff that deals with queer sex, and because independent gay and lesbian bookshops sell a lot of sex-related matter, they get picked on the most. For example, for a long time every shipment of books Little Sister's bookshop in Vancouver ordered was scrutinised by the authorities and material seized - including safe sex information. The shop is now involved in a long-running legal battle to overturn Canada Customs' censorship policies.
homepage.ntlworld.com/charlot...nadacensor.htm (external - login to view)
This is a sample of books that have been seized by Canada Customs.
Adams, Carol: The Sexual Politics of Meat: a feminist-vegetarian critical theory
Altman, Dennis: Homosexual Oppression and Liberation
Allison, Dorothy: Trash
Bataille, George: Blue of Noon and Story of the Eye
Bierce, Ambrose: The Devil's Advocate: An Ambrose Bierce Reader
Bram, Christopher: Surprising Myself
Bright, Susie: Susie Bright's Sexual Reality and Herotica
Burroughs, William: The Naked Lunch
Califia, ed: The Lesbian S/M Safety Manual.
Carter, ed.: Outrage: Australian Gay and Lesbian short story anthology
Cooper, ed.: Discontents: New Queer Writing (Amethyst Press)
Delany, Samuel R: The Madman
Marguerite Duras: The Man Sitting in the Corridor
Dworkin, Andrea: Woman Hating and Pornography: Men Possessing Women
Fleming, Mickey: About Courage
Genet, Jean: Querelle and Prisoner of Love
Hardy, Jan (ed.): Wanting Women: an anthology of erotic lesbian poetry and Sister/Stranger: lesbians loving across the lines
Hedgepeth, Evonne and Helmich, Joan: Teaching about Sexuality and HIV
Highsmith, Patricia: The Price of Salt
Hollinghurst, Alan: The Swimmingpool Library
hooks, bell: Black Looks: race and representation
Irving, John: The Hotel New Hampshire
Leavitt, David: A Place I've Never Been
Leyland, Winston (ed.): Gay Roots: 20 Years of the Gay Sunshine Interviews Also Gay Roots II.
Linden, Ruth: Against Sadomasochism
McBride, Will and Fleishhauer-Hardt, Helga: Show Me! (released on appeal)
Mitchell, Mark, ed.:The Penguin Book of International Gay Writing
Mohr, Richard: Gay Ideas: outing and other controversies
National Lesbian and Gay Survey: Proust, Cole Porter, Michelangelo, Marc Almond and Me: writings by gay men on their lives and lifestyles
Odets, Walt: In the Shadow of the Epidemic (Duke University Press)
Penelope, Julia and Wolfe, Susan (ed.): Lesbian Culture: an anthology,
Phelan, Shane: Identity Politics
Reage, Pauline: The Story of O
Rechy, John: City of Night
Rule, Jane: Desert of the Heart
Sade, the Marquis de: The 120 Days of Sodom
Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky: Tendencies; Fat Art, Thin Art (Duke University Press) and other titles
Selby, Hubert Jr.: Last Exit to Brooklyn
Sherman, Suzanne, ed.: Lesbian and Gay Marriage
Steinbeck, John: The Way
Smith, David Emerson: Queer Poet Lives
Stern, Phyllis Noerager, ed.: Lesbian Health: what are the issues?
Stoller, Robert: Port: Myths for the Twentieth Century
Swartzlander, Susan and Mumford, Marilyn, eds.: That Great Sanity: Critical Essays on May Sarton (University of Michigan Press)
Tom of Finland: Nasty Nature Trail, Tom of Finland Exhibition 1974-95 and Retrospectives #1
Tory, Frank (ed.) Panthology I and Panthology II (burned by Customs)
Walker, Mitch: Men Loving Men
Oscar Wilde: Teleny
Willis, Danielle: Dogs in Lingerie
Wojnarowicz: Memories That Smell Like Gasoline
Caught Looking: Feminism, Pornography and Censorship
The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader
Nudist Magazines of the '50s and '60s
Discontent: New Queer Writers
International Fiction #22: Homosexuality and Pornography
Fiction International #22
The Kama Sutra
Betty Page Reading Cards
Caught Looking: Feminists, Pornography and Censorship
Unity: A Celebration of Gay Games IV and Stonewall.
Wimmin's Comix #7, 10
Hothead Paisan, various issues.
Piercing Fans International Quarterly
More titles from Leif Harmsen's Web Site.