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The Beauty of the Husband: A Fictional Essay in 29 Tangos

by

The Beauty of the Husband: A Fictional Essay in 29 Tangos Cover

 

 

Excerpt

II. BUT A DEDICATION IS ONLY FELICITOUS IF PERFORMED BEFORE WITNESSES--IT IS AN ESSENTIALLY PUBLIC SURRENDER LIKE THAT OF STANDARDS OF BATTLE

You know I was married years ago and when he left my husband took my notebooks.

Wirebound notebooks.

You know that cool sly verb write. He liked writing, disliked having to start

each thought himself.

Used my starts to various ends, for example in a pocket I found a letter he'd begun

(to his mistress at that time)

containing a phrase I had copied from Homer: 'entropalizomenh is how Homer says

Andromache went

after she parted from Hektor--"often turning to look back"

she went

down from Troy's tower and through stone streets to her loyal husband's

house and there

with her women raised a lament for a living man in his own halls.

Loyal to nothing

my husband. So why did I love him from early girlhood to late middle age

and the divorce decree came in the mail?

Beauty. No great secret. Not ashamed to say I loved him for his beauty.

As I would again

if he came near. Beauty convinces. You know beauty makes sex possible.

Beauty makes sex sex.

You if anyone grasp this--hush, let's pass

to natural situations.

Other species, which are not poisonous, often have colorations and patterns

similar to poisonous species.

This imitation of a poisonous by a nonpoisonous species is called mimicry.

My husband was no mimic.

You will mention of course the war games. I complained to you often enough

when they were here all night

with the boards spread out and rugs and little lamps and cigarettes like Napoleon's

tent I suppose,

who could sleep? All in all my husband was a man who knew more

about the Battle of Borodino

than he did about his own wife's body, much more! Tensions poured up the walls

and along the ceiling,

sometimes they played Friday night till Monday morning straight through, he

and his pale wrathful friends.

They sweated badly. They ate meats of the countries in play.

Jealousy

formed no small part of my relationship to the Battle of Borodino.

I hate it.

Do you.

Why play all night.

The time is real.

It's a game.

It's a real game.

Is that a quote.

Come here.

No.

I need to touch you.

No.

Yes.

That night we made love "the real way" which we had not yet attempted

although married six months.

Big mystery. No one knew where to put their leg and to this day I'm not sure

we got it right.

He seemed happy. You're like Venice he said beautifully.

Early next day

I wrote a short talk ("On Defloration") which he stole and had published

in a small quarterly magazine.

Overall this was a characteristic interaction between us.

Or should I say ideal.

Neither of us had ever seen Venice.

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Ayse, April 15, 2011 (view all comments by Ayse)
Nobody can make hurt as beautiful as Anne Carson can. I can't think of a poet who creates characters as well as she does, and without losing any of her poetic sensibility. These characters are sometimes cruel, often full of unsatiable longing, often maddening and yet recognizably, heart-breakingly human.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780375707575
Introduction:
Carson, Anne
Publisher:
Vintage
Author:
Carson, Anne
Location:
New York
Subject:
Marriage
Subject:
American
Subject:
American - General
Subject:
Adultery
Subject:
Married people
Subject:
Poetry-A to Z
Subject:
poetry;fiction;marriage;tango;poems;adultery;love;canadian;divorce;canada;relationships;beauty
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage Contemporaries
Series Volume:
1
Publication Date:
20020231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
160
Dimensions:
8 x 5.2 x 0.4 in 0.325 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » Miscellaneous International Poetry
Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » A to Z

The Beauty of the Husband: A Fictional Essay in 29 Tangos New Trade Paper
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Product details 160 pages Vintage Books USA - English 9780375707575 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Montreal's Carson is, arguably, the hottest poet in the world. Here she displays her trademark deep erudition with an even deeper sense of life's (and love's) fragilities."
"Review" by , "Impressive....[Carson's] references to or quotes from the likes of Homer and Jane Austen and Beckett are kept in a vibrant present with infusions of a jazzy language that has come to define our age and our relationships....With swift strokes depicting the illusions and disillusions of a marriage gone sour, Carson has managed to make the intellectual life hip. In her hands, a quote from Plato seems as natural as a pop reference....Then there are the lines of sheer lyricism, lines that send us spinning back to idea of beauty, of truth....This new work, while resembling poetry, still has that edge, that charming threat of becoming at any moment something other than what we expect....A single light does not illuminate this volume. It is as though individual candles were strategically placed throughout the length of the marriage, highlighting essential moments....The Beauty of the Husband is an essential song, fully aware of all the perils and brave enough to play itself out."
"Review" by , "In Carson's most welcoming and intimate work to date, she loosens the robes of erudition that cloaked Men in the Off Hours in an aura of wry intellectualism. Here the tango provides inspiration for lashingly precise yet sultry and graceful poems that depict the eroticism and possessiveness, competition and resentment of a marriage in dissolution, a process envisioned as both an elaborate dance and vicious warfare....With Keats as her touchstone, Carson?audacious, funny, poised, and extraordinarily smart?considers our often contradictory needs for beauty and love....[A] piquant inquiry into the nature of desire far beyond familiar parameters."
"Review" by , "This poet's voice is so strange, so unique, so wholly her own that it seems a paradox that she already has such a wide audience. And the message of her seventh book is another paradox: that sexuality – both the body's intellect and the mind's desire – is thinking."
"Review" by , "In a few swiftly cut lines, her 29 tangos, Ms. Carson tells what might be seen as a pedestrian love story: a marriage, a divorce, a sad life left behind. But there is nothing pedestrian about the way her verse pierces the mind with a laserlike light."
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