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February 11, 2009 Raleigh, North Carolina From the Academy Audio Archive

About this poet

On January 10, 1952, Dorianne Laux was born in Augusta, Maine. She worked as a sanatorium cook, a gas station manager, a maid, and a donut holer before receiving a BA in English from Mills College in 1988.

Laux is the author of several collections of poetry, The Book of Women (Red Dragonfly Press, 2012); The Book of Men (W.W. Norton, 2011), which won The Paterson Prize and The Roanoke-Chowan Award; Facts About the Moon (W. W. Norton, 2005), which was the recipient of the Oregon Book Award, chosen by Ai, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; Smoke (BOA Editions, 2000); What We Carry (BOA Editions, 1994), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and Awake (BOA Editions, 1990), which was nominated for the San Francisco Bay Area Book Critics Award for Poetry. Her poems have been translated into French, Italian, Korean, Romanian, Afrikaans, Dutch, and Brazilian Portuguese.

About Laux's work, the poet Tony Hoagland has said, "Her poems are those of a grown American woman, one who looks clearly, passionately, and affectionately at rites of passage, motherhood, the life of work, sisterhood, and especially sexual love, in a celebratory fashion."

Laux is also coauthor (with Kim Addonizio) of The Poet's Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry (W.W. Norton, 1997). Among her awards are a Pushcart Prize, an Editor's Choice III Award, The Best American Poetry in 1999, 2006 and 2013, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Laux has taught at the University of Oregon's Program in Creative Writing. She now lives with her husband, poet Joseph Millar, in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she teaches in the MFA program at North Carolina State University.




Bibliography

Poetry
Only as the Day Is Long: New and Selected Poems (W. W. Norton, forthcoming January 2019)
The Book of Women (Red Dragonfly Press, 2012)
The Book of Men (W.W. Norton, 2011)
Facts About the Moon (W. W. Norton, 2005)
Smoke (BOA Editions, 2000)
What We Carry (BOA Editions, 1994)
Awake (BOA Editions, 1990)

Prose
The Poet's Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry, coauthored with Kim Addonizio (W.W. Norton, 1997)

Life is Beautiful (audio only)

 

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Dorianne Laux

Dorianne Laux

The author of several collections of poetry, Dorianne Laux was the recipient of the Oregon Book Award and a finalist for the National Books Critics Circle Award for her book Facts About the Moon

by this poet

poem

My mother went to work each day
in a starched white dress, shoes
clamped to her feet like pale
mushrooms, two blue hearts pressed
into the sponge rubber soles.
When she came back home, her nylons
streaked with runs, a spatter
of blood across her bodice,
she sat at one end of

poem
What is a wound but a flower
dying on its descent to the earth,
bag of scent filled with war, forest,
torches, some trouble that befell
now over and done. A wound is a fire
sinking into itself. The tinder serves
only so long, the log holds on
and still it gives up, collapses
into its bed of ashes and sand. I
2
poem
The crunch is the thing, a certain joy in crashing through
living tissue, a memory of Neanderthal days.
   —Edward Bunyard, The Anatomy of Dessert, 1929


Teeth at the skin. Anticipation.
Then flesh. Grain on the tongue.
Eve's knees ground in the dirt
of paradise. Newton watching
gravity happen. The