InDomain 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.
Subjects: Language & Literature
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