Gift Guide

Domain of Perfect Affection / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 85%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (8) from $1.99   
  • New (3) from $8.22   
  • Used (5) from $1.99   


In Domain of Perfect Affection, Robin Becker explores the conditions under which we experience and resist pleasure: in beauty salon, summer camp, beach, backyard, or museum; New York or New Mexico. “The Mosaic injunction against / the graven image” inspires meditations on drawings by Dürer, Evans, Klee, Marin, and del Sarto. To the consolations of art and human intimacy, Becker brings playfulness—“Worry stole the kayaks and soured the milk”—suffused with self-knowledge: “Worry wraps her long legs / around me, promises to be mine forever.” In “The New Egypt,” the narrator mines her family’s legacy: “From my father I learned the dignity / of exile and the fire of acquisition, / not to live in places lightly, but to plant / the self like an orange tree in the desert.” Becker’s shapely stanzas—couplets, tercets, quatrains, pantoum, sonnet, syllabics—subvert her colloquial diction, creating a seamless merging of subject and form. Luminous, sensual, these poems offer sharp pleasures as they argue, elegize, mourn, praise, and sing.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
"Worry calcifies/ my ears against music," confides Becker (Giacometti's Dog) in a poem called "Against Pleasure," and throughout her latest work she acknowledges that life dishes out pain and joy in equal measure; it's our job to sort them out. Early poems in the collection find Becker wrestling with "the Mosaic injunction against/ graven image" in a culture saturated with the Christian vision and striking out at how Manifest Destiny destroyed Native American lives. Later she evokes "The Architect of Happiness," celebrates the art of William Steeple Davis, and carpenters a poem for a deceased friend "who loves poems about ordinary things./ For her, I'll keep my abstractions/ to a minimum." Indeed, this poem evokes less the art of carpentry than the thing built-a lake cabin and its associated memories-and throughout Becker builds solid, well-crafted poems out of everyday materials, thereby capturing life as it is lived. For readers who like poetry that "honors the poached fish and the beans,/ our communal selves sheared of the theoretical," this honest, plain-spoken collection is just the thing.-Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822959311
  • Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/2006
  • Series: Pitt Poetry Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 88
  • Sales rank: 1,410,163
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Robin Becker, professor of English and women’s studies at The Pennsylvania State University, is the author of six collections of poetry, including The Horse Fair, All-American Girl, and Giacometti’s Dog. In 2002, the Frick Art and Historical Center in Pittsburgh published Venetian Blue, a limited-edition chapbook of Becker’s art poems. Becker is the recipient of individual fellowships from the Bunting Institute, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2000, she won the George W. Atherton III Award for Excellence in Teaching from Penn State. For the Women's Review of Books, Becker writes a column on poetry called “Field Notes” and serves as poetry editor.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

The new Egypt 3
Holy card 4
Intersex 6
The Poconos 7
Manifest destinies 9
August 11
Man of the year 12
Against pleasure 15
A pasture of my palm 16
Sound view 17
Salon 18
Lament of the mangle 20
The drawer 22
The dome fire 24
The architect of happiness 26
After the snowstorm, the bay 28
Borderline 29
Angel supporting St. Sebastian 33
Soot and spit 34
Qualities boys like best in girls 35
Simple dark 37
Orienteer : the childhood drawings of William Steeple Davis, 1884-1961 39
Subject/matter 42
The miniaturists 43
Great sleeps I have known 45
Summer's tale 47
The dogs of Santorini 48
Head of an old man 50
Description 51
Rain 55
Mah-Jongg fantasia 56
Mail order 58
Now 59
Old dog 60
Island of daily life 61
Head of an angel 63
Cohort 64
The outside agitator 65
Autumn measure 66
Lodging 67
Late butch-femme 68
Birds of prey 69
OK, Tucker 71
On friendship 72
With two camels and one donkey 73
The wild heart 74
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)