"There are not many truly unusual experiences; there are uniquely precise explications of experiences. These precise explications are rare, but The Carnival of Affection offers them. These poems open windows into experience: A father raises a gay son laconically, evenhandedly, and their early time together resonates for decades. An early riser sifts the secret currents of his neighborhood. The mind and body watch each other in the intimate processes of age and sex. Mourners suffer the ceremonial gestures and scents of a funeral, a polite horror separate from the horror of death. The opposite of through a glass darkly, this is Dickensian perception that goes well beyond both ends of the ordinary human perceptual arc."
- Laura Argiri
author of The God in Flight
"Tender and lyrical, unflinching yet sensitive, this collection delves deep into the heart and its contradictions. Father figures and lovers, alluring strangers and lost friends: the men who figure in these finely crafted poems are at once emblematic and particular. With empathy and humor, Philip F. Clark's work revels in lust and desire. He mourns the dead and celebrates the living, often circling back to literature's sustaining power: all night the man became a book. He draws us towards what's spoken and felt and what's withheld and remembered, catching the human body, the carnal, in its elusive beauty: You stop my breath / as your beauty perfects // an exclamation point. / Your soul an ampersand."
- Kateri Lanthier
author of Siren