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.
About the Author
Table of ContentsContents Part I The New Egypt Holy Card Intersex The Poconos Manifest Destinies August Man of the Year Against Pleasure A Pasture of My Palm Sound View Salon Lament of the Mangle The Drawer The Dome Fire The Architect of Happiness After the Snowstorm, the Bay Borderline Part II Angel Supporting St. Sebastian Soot and Spit Qualities Boys Like Best in Girls Simple Dark Orienteer: The Childhood Drawings of William Steeple Davis, 1884–1961 Subject / Matter The Miniaturists Great Sleeps I Have Known Summer’s Tale The Dogs of Santorini Head of an Old Man Description Part III Rain Mah-Jongg Fantasia Mail Order Now Old Dog Island of Daily Life Head of an Angel Cohort The Outside Agitator Autumn Measure Lodging Late Butch-Femme Birds of Prey OK, Tucker On Friendship With Two Camels and One Donkey The Wild Heart Notes Acknowledgments