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Facts About the Moon: Poems Paperback – May 17, 2007

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Facts About the Moon: Poems + The Book of Men: Poems + What We Carry (American Poets Continuum)
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Laux's fluent and likable first person shoots straight on sex, relationships and American adulthood in this substantial and unusually various fourth collection. The Oregon poet opens with a funny, compassionate political poem about urban mass transit, segues to "Vacation Sex" ("We've been at it all summer") and then to a meditation on the flag of Alaska, designed (as Laux explains) by a 13-year-old orphan 78 years ago. If she casts a wide net for subjects, Laux (Smoke) shows equal breadth with her free verse forms; the most accomplished tend to use long lines, and to digress, tersely and thoughtfully, from their narrative threads. Describing her marriage, her Western travels and her erotic history as girl and woman, Laux works in the idiom of Philip Levine and Sharon Olds, yet Laux's best verse is perhaps more surprising than theirs: if she occasionally sounds lugubrious, more often she makes "new cells pungent with the old codes." Laux has not invented a new style, but she has improved the one she has: "It took me years to grow a heart," Laux quips, "from paper and glue"; her verse certainly draws on it. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

Quick-witted and compassionate, with a genius for phrasing that never compromises the perfect clarity of her text....Continually engaging and...luminous. -- Steve Kowit, San Diego Union-Tribune
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 104 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (May 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393329623
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393329629
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #739,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dorianne Laux's most recent collections are Facts about the Moon, recipient of the Oregon Book Award, and The Book of Men (W.W. Norton), winner of the Paterson Prize in Poetry, Laux is also author of Awake, What We Carry, and Smoke from BOA Editions, as well as Superman: The Chapbook, Dark Charms, and The Book of Women, all from Red Dragonfly Press. She co-edited The Poet's Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry (W.W. Norton). Recipient of many national grants and awards for her poetry, Laux teaches in the MFA Program at North Carolina State University and is founding faculty of Pacific University's Low Residency MFA Program in Oregon.

www/DorianneLaux.com
http://dlaux1.wordpress.com

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 18, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Speaking with authority from the first page, this collection is accessible, familiar, the poet's trenchant observations sitting like pearls upon the tongue, not precious, but the flawed ones that are left behind.

Democracy requires open eyes and a willingness to suffer discomfort for its own sake, the burr of memory kept sharp:

"... the woman with her purse clutched

to her breasts like a dead child, the boy, pimpled, morose, his head

shorn, a swastika carved in the stubble,

staring you down...

"You can feel it now: why people become Republicans: Get that dog

off the street. Remove that spit and graffiti. Arrest those people huddled

on the steps of the church." (Democracy)

The title poem reflects upon the reality that the moon is receding from the earth an inch and a half each year, that one day in the distant future it will finally spiral out of orbit and "all land based life will die". The moon is our regulator, our constant companion, a mother we have treated badly, defied and scorned:

"... a mother

who's lost a child, a bad child,

a greedy child or maybe a grown boy

who's murdered and raped, a mother

can't help it, she loves that boy

anyway, and in spite of herself

she misses him...

... and you know she's only

romanticizing, that she's conveniently

forgotten the bruises and the booze...

and you want... to slap her back to sanity...

... and then, you can't help it

either, you know love when you see it,

you can feel its lunar strength, its brutal pull.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Peter Dragin on January 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Laux's voice is impeccably skillful in the American Grain. Her imagery dances nice as you please and her music is clean as a whistle. What's best here is her passionate commitment to and celebration of a healing process that entrusts poetics to the uncanny capacity of love to pull wholeness out of chaos and pain if only you stick with the quest. These poems encourage and nourish.
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Format: Paperback
As I read Dorianne Laux's collection entitled Facts of the Moon, I experienced a similar joy for her poems that I had when I read through Susan Browne's Buddha's dogs. Instead of shocking the reader with poetic works about unusual experiences and situations, I enjoyed the use of imagery Laux's poems. For instance, in her poem entitled, "Music in the Morning," Dorianne Laux uses each line or set of lines to either describe the setting or the individual that the narrator is talking about. Like a puzzle, piece by piece she creates the scene and the subject clearly.

From the first two lines, "when I think of the years he drank, / the scars on his chin," right away the audience knows two things: the first being that the narrator is describing a recovered alcoholic in the present day, and second the fact that he has "scars on his chin" gives the impression that the recovered alcoholic had a rough experience(s) when he was drinking. Rather than painting a picture of a smiley, tan, tall gentleman who survived from an addiction, Laux chose to show the wear and tare, the imperfections, the proof of his past mistakes. Even though the narrator claims to want to believe that "he survived" for her, the narrator does explain that her desire to have been the reason for his survival isn't reality; in truth, it was "luck and love" that saved him (lines 18, 25). Although I feel that this is probably my favorite poem by Dorianne Laux (as of the present day), another poem that I enjoyed from this collection was "The Idea of Housework."

Regardless of one's age, any reader is able to relate to the concept of this poem; what is the point of cleaning dishes?
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Format: Paperback
Dorianne Laux's book of poetry, Facts About the Moon, reads like a snow angel. The reader takes in the details of the author's life--her marriage, the loss of her brother, her past, her parentage--only in between the lines that expound upon the woes of the moon, the burial of a dead hummingbird, a crossing of elk, and dead, fallen trees. These images mound up and sweep right and left in a strange, surreal dance, changing the reader's perspective, lowering his or her eyes to an uncomfortable, unconventional angle, and there it is: within the heaps of snow, of objects, the outline of a human being.
It is in this way, through the poetry of images and objects, that Laux expresses her feelings and portrays the people she cares about. Often, she compounds these images on top of one another, further deepening the comparison. In her poem "Cello," Laux uses the image of two trees rubbing together "When a dead tree falls in the forest" to a stringed instrument, as the dead tree's body "[builds]/ Its dead music" and uses these two conceits, the trees and the cello, as a metaphor for the 9/11 terrorist attack (89). The trees evoke the image of one tower collapsing into the other, the cello the mournful, keening sound of grief. It is these three images, the trees, the cello, and the towers, that create the framework for the suggested body of the poem: Laux's feelings as the first anniversary of the attack draws near.
There is a similar layering effect in Laux's titular poem "Facts About the Moon," where Laux compares the increasingly distant moon to "a greedy child" (40).
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