Dorianne Laux


There are a few things you should know about what happened
before the Big Bang, the weight of what was out there, a garage
filled with spokes and spikes, sections of fence, grand hammers
and glowing clamps, an extravagance of penny nails ticking
in rows of open jars on endless shelves of darkness, collapsed
lawn chairs, gold rakes, sacks of fertilizer and rock salt, rags,
lighter fluid and gas cans, blue tarps, boxes of puzzles with a few
pieces missing, pans of oil spread end to end across the great floor,

and rafters hung with collars of rope and coiled hoses, fed through
with planks of close grained wood, lengths of rebar, track lighting,
quilts folded neatly into zippered pillow cases, sawdust, clay pots
set one inside another, and in a high corner, cells of wax, yellow
paddles and a red raft, and strung from silver hooks and spindly
trellises leaned against the tarpapered walls, webs of hair
and lamb’s wool and scarves of human skin, the substance
that would harden into horn and teeth and bone, the square

windowless space filling with the matter of the ages until no space
was left, the last Coleman lantern shoved hard between the bird feeder
and the beveled mirror, the final straw wedged into the last hollow
pinhole shaft, or the straw of the future which lay hidden beneath
a hubcap, nestled inside the shadow of a shadow. How did it all
shrink to almost nothing, like those winter sweaters in space age
plastic, the air sucked out with a vacuum attachment so a billion
fit precisely in a bottom drawer, all of everything spinning

on less than the point of an acupuncture pin until one flintiness
scraped a dit of rusty matter, threw a lone spark, and before
the vast door could be wedged closed flung the whole shebang up
and out into the atmosphere, assembling, as it tumbled at the highest
speeds, the life we know today, crumbling in upon itself, creating
chaos and flux in its wake, causality and thingitude, love and loss
and emptiness and openness and such, one humongous yard sale
burned clean and washed up, lapping at the shore of the unmown lawn

A finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, Dorianne Laux’s fourth book of poems, Facts about the Moon (W.W. Norton), is the recipient of the Oregon Book Award, chosen by Ai. It was also short-listed for the 2006 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize for the most outstanding book of poems published in the United States and chosen by the Kansas City Star as a noteworthy book of 2005. Laux is also author of three collections of poetry from BOA Editions, Awake (1990) introduced by Philip Levine, recently reprinted by Eastern Washington University Press, What We Carry (1994) and Smoke (2000). Superman: The Chapbook was released by Red Dragonfly Press in January, 2008. Co-author of The Poet's Companion, she’s the recipient of two Best American Poetry Prizes, a Best American Erotic Poems Prize, a Pushcart Prize, two fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Her work has appeared in the Best of the American Poetry Review, The Norton Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, and she’s a frequent contributor to magazines as various as the New York Quarterly, Orion and Ms. Magazine. Laux has waited tables and written poems in San Diego, Los Angeles, Berkeley, and Petaluma, California, and as far north as Juneau, Alaska. For the last 15 years she has taught at the University of Oregon in Eugene and since 2004, at Pacific University’s Low Residency MFA Program. In fall of 2008 she and her husband, poet Joseph Millar, moved to Raleigh where she has joined the faculty at North Carolina State University as a Poet-in-Residence



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