New and Selected Poems of Thomas Lux: 1975 - 1995

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Thomas Lux's poems embody the sound of deep emotions lightly carried. In their deft, sometimes humorous fashion they unseat the spirit, fastening on the rueful and mysterious poignancies of our lives, like that unopened bottle of maraschino cherries abandoned in the refrigerator, or cocking a snook at the dreadful challenges of commercial leech farming today. For the past twenty-five years, Lux's work has grown from his early experiments in surrealism into a body of work that, while challenging the mind and ...

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Overview

Thomas Lux's poems embody the sound of deep emotions lightly carried. In their deft, sometimes humorous fashion they unseat the spirit, fastening on the rueful and mysterious poignancies of our lives, like that unopened bottle of maraschino cherries abandoned in the refrigerator, or cocking a snook at the dreadful challenges of commercial leech farming today. For the past twenty-five years, Lux's work has grown from his early experiments in surrealism into a body of work that, while challenging the mind and affecting the funnybone, is designed to touch the heart, a destination Lux attains with the utmost precision and delicacy. This book for the first time brings together in one volume the best of his mature work.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"singular among his peers in his ability to convey with a deceptive lightness the paradoxes of human emotion." Publishers Weekly
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
With new work offered in the first of its five sections, this volume gathers Lux's most mature work. At the same time, the collection, as a whole, records Lux's growth from his early surrealist efforts to a more wry andsometimeswarmer humor. Among the more recent poems is the vibrant "Towards," a love poem that fairly slides off the page: "Towards you I'll take a sled, chariot swing low,/ rent a llama. I'll run/ two miles, walk one,/ run two towards you, towards you/ I am on a sure course." Such momentum and easy style mark most of the new work. Lux's early poems are generally denser and more cynical, working the poet's ear for language rather than narrative, as in "Flying Noises": "He was absolved prematurely they forgot/ what he might do from the point/ of absolution to the next point what's it called." In poems from 1986's Half Promised Land, Lux turns to the days of his childhood on a farm. The long poem "Triptych, Middle Panel Burning" shows flashes of brilliance and anger. "It happened that my uncle liked to take my hand in his/ and with the other seize/ the electric cow fence." So the poem begins, unfolding into an eloquent discourse on America, poverty, life and death. At its best, Lux's work is a heady mix of linguistic ease, pathos and gentle humor. July
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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780395858325
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 4/15/1997
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas Lux holds the Bourne Chair in Poetry and is the director of the McEver Visiting Writers Program at Georgia Institute of Technology. He has been awarded three NEA grants and the Kingsley Tufts Award and is a former Guggenheim Fellow. He lives in Atlanta.

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