Tiger Heron

Tiger Heron

by Robin Becker


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Appearance and disguise—in a Costa Rican rainforest, a West Village repair shop, or an intimate relationship—reveal the turbulence that undergirds daily life, as families and places undergo change. In "Elegy for the Norther Flying Squirrel" and "Divers," Becker takes up the science of climate change and habitat loss. "Language that is by turns virtuosic and quiet, astonishing and accurate," writes a reviewer of Becker's 2006 collection, Domain of Perfect Affection for Jewish Book World Magazine. The challenge of "aligning loss with love" exerts a potent tension in Tiger Heron, as age comprises mortal bodies and intimacies end. A self-mocking wit propels characters "to find and lose and find each other again"—in the imagination and in the stories these poems tell. The final line of "The Sounds of Yiddish"—"Spare us what we can learn to endure"—closes a playful send-up, dramatizing language, culture, and power. Writing in The Washington Post, former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky praises Becker's "comic timing." Longtime readers of Becker's work will delight in poems cast in a variety of stanzas and experimental forms. Their occasions are diverse—an animal shelter, a failed trip to Venice, a hospice bedside—but Becker ultimately yokes a language of praise to our stumbling, humble, human efforts.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780822962984
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
Publication date: 01/30/2014
Series: Pitt Poetry Series
Edition description: 1
Pages: 80
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.30(d)

About the Author

Robin Becker, Liberal Arts Research Professor of English and Women’s Studies at the Pennsylvania State University, is the author of seven poetry collections, including Domain of Perfect Affection, The Horse Fair, Giacometti’s Dog, and All-American Girl, winner of the Lambda Literary Award. In 2002 the Frick Art and Historical Center in Pittsburgh published Venetian Blue, a limited-edition chapbook of Becker’s art poems. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Bunting Institute, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2000 she received the George W. Atherton III Award for Excellence in Teaching from Penn State, and from 2010 to 2011 she served as the Penn State Laureate. For the Women’s Review of Books, Becker edits poetry and writes a column on poetry called “Field Notes.”

Table of Contents


Prairie Dogs 3

To a Poet 4

Hospice 5

A Last Go 6

Modern Death 7

Post Time 8

Storm King Sculpture Park 9

Kouros 10

Herself 11

Late June Owl 12

Old Florida 14

Elegy for the Northern Flying Squirrel 16

In Montefiore Cemetery 19

Our Best Selves 21


And So Forth 27

Rescue Parable 28

The Weight 29

Her Lies 30

Repair 31

The Middle Path 32

Understory 34

Xenia 36

Harriers 37

Wearing Mother's High School Ring 38

The Sounds of Yiddish 42

Rescue Riddle 43

Divers 44

False Summit 45


Taking D own the Sculptor's Horse 49

Legacy Children 51

Dog Person 53

The Civil War Comes to Town 54

Threesome Interval 55

The Dog I Didn't Want 56

Mushrooms 57

The Island 58

Dyke 59

When You Look at the Spines of Your Books 60

Holiday 61

Listening to Bach on Rt. 89 62

The Plum Tree 63

Provisioned 64

Acknowledgments 67

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