Facts About the Moon

Dorianne Laux, Author . Norton $23.95 (95p) ISBN 978-0-393-06096-6

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.)

Reviewed on: 08/15/2005
Release date: 12/01/2005
Paperback - 101 pages - 978-0-393-32962-9
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