Awake

Dorianne Laux, Author
Dorianne Laux, Author BOA Editions $16 (0p) ISBN 978-0-918526-76-2
Reviewed on: 12/01/1990
Release date: 12/01/1990
In her first book of poems, Laux's writing is at its most potent when she deals simply and bluntly with the vicissitudes of growing up and getting old. The almost matter-of-fact tone of ``What My Father Told Me'' and ``Two Pictures of My Sister'' expresses the resignation of girls who have learned to assimilate the horrors of sexual and physical violation into the otherwise innocuous routines of their childhood. Too often, however, the uncompromising directness of the poet's vision is diluted by imprecise metaphors and insignificant themes. The strained erotic images of ``The Laundromat'' are gratuitous as well as embarrassing, and ``Adam's Dad Teaches the Kids to Play Ball'' transforms an already bland subject into a cliche. It is difficult to believe that this is the same writer who, in ``Quarter to Six,'' gives us such a masterfully complex portrait of a friendship between two women battling the pain of their pasts amid the hellishness of a mental asylum. This poem, encompassing Laux's most important themes, is the vibrant heart of this uneven but provocative collection. (June)
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