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About this poet

Thomas Lux was born in Northampton, Massachusetts, on December 10, 1946, and attended Emerson College and the University of Iowa.

His numerous books of poetry include To the Left of Time (Mariner Books, 2016), Child Made of Sand (Houghton Mifflin, 2012); God Particles (Houghton Mifflin, 2008); The Cradle Place (Houghton Mifflin, 2004); The Street of Clocks (Houghton Mifflin, 2001); New and Selected Poems, 1975-1995 (Houghton Mifflin, 1997), which was a finalist for the 1998 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; Split Horizon (Houghton Mifflin, 1994), for which he received the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award; Tarantulas on the Lifebuoy (Ampersand Books, 1983); The Glassblower's Breath (Cleveland State University Press, 1976); Memory's Handgrenade (Pym-Randall, 1972); and The Land Sighted (Pym-Randall, 1970).

The late Stanley Kunitz noted that “[Lux is] sui generis, his own kind of poet, unlike any of the fashions of his time.” Rita Dove, writing for the Washington Post Book World, has said, “Try Lux on for size. He’ll pinch in places, soothe in others, but I predict one thing: you may never fit the same way in your own skin again.”

Lux held the post as poet in residence at Emerson College (1972-1975) and was a member of the writing faculty at Sarah Lawrence College and the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers. He also taught at the University of Iowa, University of Michigan, and the University of California at Irvine, among others. He was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award and received three National Endowment for the Arts grants and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

He lived in Atlanta, where he served as the Bourne Professor of Poetry and director of the McEver Visiting Writers program at the Georgia Institute of Technology until his death. He died on February 5, 2017.




Selected Bibliography

Child Made of Sand (Houghton Mifflin, 2012)
God Particles (Houghton Mifflin, 2008)
The Cradle Place (Houghton Mifflin, 2004)
The Street of Clocks (Houghton Mifflin, 2001)
New and Selected Poems, 1975-1995 (Houghton Mifflin, 1997)
The Blind Swimmer: Selected Early Poems, 1970-1975 (Adastra Press, 1996)
Split Horizon (Houghton Mifflin, 1994)
Pecked to Death by Swans (Adastra Press, 1993)
A Boat in the Forest (Adastra Press, 1992)
The Drowned River: New Poems (Houghton Mifflin, 1990)
Half Promised Land (Houghton Mifflin, 1986)
Tarantulas on the Lifebuoy (Ampersand Books, 1983)
Massachusetts (Pym-Randall, 1981)
Like a Wide Anvil from the Moon the Light (Black Market Press, 1980
Sunday (Houghton Mifflin, 1979)
The Glassblower's Breath (Cleveland State University Press, 1976)
Memory's Handgrenade (Pym-Randall, 1972)
The Land Sighted (Pym-Randall, 1970)

Blue with Collapse

The devil’s in my neck.
Everything I hear is overviolined,
even the wind, even the wind.
It’s like walking in nurdles up to my chest,
squeaky and slow.
It’s spring, the blooming branches
nearly hide the many dead ones.
A squirrel, digging for a nut, upends my frail
tomato plant and fails
to replant it, even though he has the tools.
I find this kind of squirrely oblivion everywhere.
I was a man filled to the top
of my spine, filled to the lump
on the back of my head, with hope.
Then I read a few thousand history books.
Little, and nothing, perturbs me now.
Even the beheadings, even the giant meat hooks
in the sky, more frequent each day,
bother me not
a tittle, not a jot.

"Blue with Collapse" from To the Left of Time by Thomas Lux. Copyright © 2016 by Thomas Lux. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

"Blue with Collapse" from To the Left of Time by Thomas Lux. Copyright © 2016 by Thomas Lux. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Thomas Lux

Thomas Lux

Thomas Lux is the author of several books of poetry, including To the Left of Time (Mariner Books, 2016) and New and Selected Poems, 1975-1995 (Houghton Mifflin, 1997).

by this poet

poem
I have thought much upon
who might be my ilk,
and that I am ilk myself if I have ilk.
Is one of my ilk, or me, the barber
who cuts the hair of the blind?
And the man crushed by cruelties
for which we can't imagine sorrow,
who would be his ilk?
And whose ilk was it
standing around, hands in pockets, May 1933,
poem
the word for the inability to find the right word,
leads me to self-diagnose: onomatomaniac. It’s not
the 20 volume OED, I need,
nor Dr. Roget’s book, which offers
equals only, never discovery.
I accept the fallibility of language,
its spastic elasticity,
its jake-leg, as well as prima ballerina, dances.
I
poem
weren't built to let the sunlight in.
They were large to let the germs out. 
When polio, which sounds like the first dactyl
of a jump rope song, was on the rage,
you did not swim in public waters.
The awful thing was an iron lung.
We lined up in our underwear to get the shot.
Some kids fainted, we all were stung