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New and Selected Poems of Thomas Lux: 1975 - 1995 Hardcover – Unabridged, April 15, 1997


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; First Edition edition (April 15, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395858321
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395858325
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #326,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Writing in the Georgia Review, Peter Stitt described Thomas Lux's writing as a "mingling of humor and sincerity," capable of both "ferocious anger and deep tenderness." These seemingly irreconcilable traits marry in Lux's best poems, which you'll find in this collection. Consider, for instance, "Travelling Exhibit of Torture Instruments." Lux is overcome by a wave of reactions to the instruments: he is awed by their genius, their effectiveness; he is obviously bitter about the depths of human cruelty; he is darkly amused by the absurdity of it all; he is bone-crushingly tired and sad at the seeming futility of life. The ending of the poem might contain any, or all of these reactions: "It seems most times men did this or that, / so terrible to him or her, / it was because God willed it so. / Or, at least, they thought He did." Lux is eclectic and brilliant, with a sharp mind and a good ear.

From Library Journal

Lux (e.g., The Blind Swimmer: Selected Early Poems, LJ 12/96) has been writing for over 20 years, and many phases of his 20-year writing career are represented in this intriguing collection. His style is deceptively essayistic and even prosy, and while at times his efforts fall into banality, many poems here are distinctive and outstanding. Lux has a notable gift for discerning the difficult and unchanging questions, and his best work offers the illumination and surprise of first-rate writing. In "Solo Native," he sees the human being as "a metaphor, a meatpacker,/ a tree dropping or gaining its credentials." Notable also are the compassionate tributes to Keats, Alexander Pope, and other past poets, the finest of which is perhaps "Postcard to Baudelaire." At times Lux is also capable of superb turns in strict form, as in "All the Slaves" or "Man Asleep in a Child's Bed." At times, as in "Spiders Wanting," he matches that spider's achievement: "to design/ the web, live on what we catch/ from air, and always returning,/ always, to the spun eluctable cave." For most collections of contemporary poetry.?Graham Christian, Andover-Harvard Theological Lib., Cambridge, Mass.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 27, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Reading this collection one gets a sense of how Lux has changed over the years and how those changes have affected his poetry. His keen sense of focus, his delight in learning something in a poem, the playful titles... all remain, but the polish, the craftmanship gets better and better. Thomas in print, Tom when you meet him and hear him read - you will laugh at his reading, picking up lines you missed yourself... Try starting with his poem "The Voice You Hear When You Read Silently" and see if he does not make you aware of that voice AS YOU READ the very poem about that voice. Son of a milkman, read "The Milkman and his Son" and then one to his unborn daughter (p.113) and then her little girl rhymes in "Criss Cross Apple Sauce"... then pause a moment to consider his own childhood in "Refrigerator,1957"... So, it's all from his own life, you ask - another of those confessional poets of the 90's. Not so, says I - find a complete bio in these pages and you are under the influence... it's from YOUR life, I say - and mine, of course. Chronological? Hardly. Even the poems start with the new and look back. Writing this here on the computer I am losing my thoughts because I am getting caught up in the book sitting beside me... read the book, read a few poems each day, make copies for the uninitiated of the poem he wrote for them. I cannot give it a 10 because Lux would not give it a 10 - where could he go from there?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Master of on August 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
Every poet, published and journal-scratching, can learn something from Lux. The funny thing is, I don't think he poses himself to be the epitome of American poetry. This is solid, amazing work. He should be read in the schools. He should be read at the beginning of every hockey game. This book should be owned by you.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 5, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Tom Lux is the best-kept secret in American Poetry.
Has reading poetry ever poetry frustrated you? Were you taught poetry is some kind of impressive sounding puzzle only a specialist could understand? Well, you must read "New and Selected Poems 1975-1995", because these poems will confound your experience with boring, academic or overly allusive verse. To "get" these poems, you won't need an overpaid theorist to explain them to you, all you need is your experience as an every-day human being.
It's the poet's job to bring the poems alive, make them clear, and engage the reader, and Lux does all this with verve. The subjects of the poems are wide ranging, (as skimming the above list of titles will reveal) but Lux never shallowly uses a subject for its shock value; all the poems honestly and intently explore. The diction is sharply focused, the metaphor surprising, and the sound harmonious and pleasant to read (yes you will actually enjoy saying the poems), but the key to Thomas Lux's poetry is the voice, the resonant from-your-chest, angry, needling, amused, serious, tender and wry voice.
But here I am, telling you what the poetry is like, not what why its valuable.
You should read this book, aloud and often: its music will please your mouth, the subjects will intrigue you, and the poems as poems, whole utterances, will make you feel very much alive.
RJ McCaffery
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. E. Martin on June 2, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Bought this eBook because I happened across the print version in a colleague's library and loved it. I was very happy to see it listed, but upon downloading it I discovered that it was not scalable and in very small print (almost too small to see!). It seems that the poems are stored like PDF's or picture files, so they can be "zoomed," but only slightly and are still too small to read. I have a request for a refund in and I hope Amazon makes good on this...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've long been a fan of Lux's poetry, love the wildness of it and the courage to confront unpleasant truths. I think of his poems as mercilessly realistic. Life is not easy, not always pretty, but well worth close observation. He offers this lesson again and again. My copy is already well marked with bits to go back and read frequently.
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