Child Made of Sand: Poems

Child Made of Sand: Poems

by Thomas Lux

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In Child Made of Sand, Kingsley Tufts–winner Thomas Lux demonstrates a restless energy to explore new territory while confirming his place in the pantheon of contemporary American poetry.See more details below


In Child Made of Sand, Kingsley Tufts–winner Thomas Lux demonstrates a restless energy to explore new territory while confirming his place in the pantheon of contemporary American poetry.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Most of these free-verse poems evolve from questions or implied questions. Take "Where are the shoelaces of yesteryear, Gérard?"—the first line of "Rue de la Vieille Lanterne," written for the French poet Gérard de Nerval: although the question seems light, even flippant, the poem turns out to be about suicide and is dark indeed. Like much of the work in this 12th collection from Kingsley Tufts Award winner Lux (Split Horizons), this poem is an uneasy blend of sarcasm, pseudo-joviality, and noir. There are several allusions to other poets in the collection, including Robert Frost and William Blake, but overall the poems have a Sylvia Plath-like feel. They don't share in Plath's extraordinary imagery, though, so much as they inhabit her hard edges. The autobiographical poems tend to become wrapped in memories whose power never quite comes across. The strongest poems get their energy from figures of sound and wordplay—generally puns, consonance, and assonance. VERDICT The poems are not always successful, but when they work, they have an ironic edge that builds gradually and by suggestion until the poet pulls the rug out from under the reader with a final line whose mordant humor explodes in a light show that's anything but light.—Diane Scharper, Towson Univ., Maryland

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.70(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Moths Who Come in the Night to Drink Our Tears

always leave quenched,
though they’re drinking,
in composition, seawater,
which does not make them insane as it does parched humans when we drink it, even with our big, big bodies.
If you knew a leper’s tears do not contain the bacillus leprae,
would you let him weep on your chest?
Let the moths come, let the sandwoman and -man come,
let Morpheus and Dreamadum come unto me, and my beloveds,
let the moths come and drink of the disburdening waters.


—César Vallejo, Arago Clinic, Paris, Holy Friday,
  April 15, 1938

It was you, César, they killed to the base of your forefinger, you.
Certainly they shot Pedro Rojas too.
No doubt Juana Vásquez was killed.
The killers, poor also, were skilled.
And Emilio, they shot him in the back of the neck after they made him kneel amid the wreck of his grandmother’s house—they beat but did not kill her. The people, their hands and feet
(A cripple sleeps with his foot on his shoulder.
Shall I later talk about Picasso, of all people?),
these are the people you wrote for, César,
though your later poems, no longer lighted by the laser of your homeland, of Heraldos Negros or Trilce, were real enough for exile but not as true, licit.
Socialist realism, the aesthetic was called,
poetry force-marched—to diminish, equally, all.
It was not right for your mind and betrayed your heart.
Your countrymen and -women should bring you home, César.
Entombed in France is good enough for some,
but Peru should bring Peru’s great poet home.


Jebus don’t love me, oh.
Oh Jebus don’t love me, no.
He never because I too slow.

The moon do love me, but it fall,
plash, way there in ocean where I see them small fishes who be, who be a ton

of teeth in my big eyes. So,
Jebus, let this tiny haminal go,
because I don’t love you neither, no.


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