The Beauty of the Husband
In The Beauty of the Husband, subtitled "A Fictional Essay in 29 Tangos", Anne Carson explores ambiguous feelings toward a difficult but intriguing marriage. Each poem begins with a short quote from John Keats, whose idea that "beauty is truth" is the thread holding together a relationship with a man addicted to lying and philandering. A scoundrel ("He lied when it wasn't even convenient"), the husband is redeemed and forgiven almost everything because of beauty.
A long-time love, now a crumbling marriage, unfolds in the "tangos" of narrative verse, informed by the poet's own sensibility. This is a work that explores the oldest of lyrical subjects - beauty, desire, love, betrayal - with freshness and power.