Dorianne Laux

Dorianne Laux Reviews

Praise & Reviews for The Book of Men

"Dorianne Laux dares to parse her life through the prism of men who’ve passed through it."

New York Times

"Laux's fifth collection continues in her descriptive, storytelling vein: the at-hand, the matter-of-fact, the day-to-day are rendered in an earnest tone both sensuous and nostalgic. Something of a baby boomer's field guide, this book portrays the legacy of the 1960s from the perspective of one who has survived and must look back on what that decade did and didn't change."

Publisher's Weekly

"The Book of Men finds Laux at her best. She’s witty, engaging, and candid. . . . Echoes of Whitman are everywhere in The Book of Men. Both Whitman and Laux are profoundly democratic poets. Anyone can live in their poems, and their poems can live anywhere."

The Rumpus

"At the emergency room, I read The Book of Men, then hand it to my wife, who is wired to a couple of machines. She says, 'Oh my, these are wonderful,' and I agree and think, yes, these are poems for the people of planet Earth, for those who wait tables in Juneau, Alaska in order to buy a bed, who go off to war in place of those who send them, for whom gold is the 'color of mold in the broken refrigerator' rather than a smart investment, and for whom language crafted to speak truly and memorably of such things is a kind of salvation. In The Book of Men, our recognition of a drifting world brought to the hard edge of meaning is immediate and enduring and makes us grateful once again for poetry's capacity for rescue. I read 'Staff Sgt. Metz' to the nurse on duty, and he says in a whisper, 'For Chrissakes, who wrote that?' and I say, 'A poet named Dorianne Laux.'"

—B.H. Fairchild

"The Book of Men by Dorianne Laux, could just as easily have been called The Book of Empathy, or The Book of Negative Capability, or The Book of Intimate Awareness of Who We Are and How We Got To Be This Way. Whether she is writing about men or women, the powerful or the powerless, the present day or the past, Laux observes, evokes and meditates with profound compassion and understanding for the delicate complexities of the human heart. The Book of Men is a fabulous book that all men and women who turn to poetry for pleasure and knowledge will be reading with gratitude and admiration for many years to come."

—Alan Shapiro

"The Book of Men is an utterly wonderful book, a collection of poems that only Dorianne Laux could write. She is at her very best here, each poem inhabited by a living voice, each poem artfully constructed to enter the reader like the gently pressed edge of a sharp and jagged object. One feels so many different things at once that the only response is a kind of rapture. To me, the book reads as a continuous whole, front to back, part of its supreme artistry being the musical composition of the placement and unerring modulation of the individual poems. I will not point out the particular places I wept or laughed or smiled or marveled. But I read this book and I wept and laughed and smiled and marveled.

—Frank X. Gaspar

"Each poem in The Book of Men is a world we pulse in & out of, each makes us aware of a distant music we never paid attention to before, each makes us aware of own bodies, as we hold the book, as we absorb her music, holding the stuff of the world in our hands. The poetry of Dorianne Laux is essential."

—Nick Flynn

"Dorianne Laux has always been a brave poet; her work underwritten by a grownup sense of the tragic, and drawn upwards by loving respect for the powers of sex and beauty. Now her lyrical ear is better than ever, her poems and her vision ever more impressive and distinct. She's one of the poets who is keeping alive the brave art of looking, who insists on the humanizing fact of the mortal body. The Book of Men is a songbook- ruthless, damaged, and full of fierce athletic compassion.

—Tony Hoagland

Praise & Reviews for Facts About the Moon

"To understand why her work is so widely read and admired, listen to the music Dorianne Laux makes, line after line....She is quick-witted and compassionate, with a genius for phrasing that never compromises the perfect clarity of her text....Continually engaging and, at her best, luminous.”

—Steve Kowit, San Diego Union-Tribune

"Laux’s fourth collection of poems gives us more of what we have come to love and crave from this poet: startlingly distinctive vocabulary, sensual engagement with the body, and beautiful articulation of the ranges of human life coupled with a commitment to the details of particular human lives."

—Lilah Hegnauer, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Spring 2006

"Laux's fluent and likable first person shoots straight on sex, relationships and American adulthood in this substantial and unusually various fourth collection."

Publisher's Weekly

"Speaking with authority from the first page, this collection is accessible, familiar, the poet’s trenchant observations sitting like pearls upon the tongue."

Curled Up With A Good Book

"Laux writes gritty, tough, lyrical poems that depict the actual nature of life in the West today."

—Philip Levine

"Facts About the Moon is a splendid book of enchanting poems that make one feel the ‘lunar strength and brutal pull’ of love that exists in spite of our human frailty. In those frailties lie our strengths. Dorianne Laux knows this and her poems show it."


"Dorianne Laux has created an ever-expanding body of work in which the examined life is the common one, recognizable and shared, yet also transformed-each statement, feeling, fact set down with accuracy, original vision, and an unerring musicality and alertness. Facts About the Moon continually surprises and enriches. In its rhetorical clarity, emotional honesty, lyric beauty, attention to detail, and moral encounter with the world, this volume is a rewarding and powerful achievement."

—Jane Hirshfield

"These poems represent a knowledge, and a sensibility, that is unmistakable, and a lyric loveliness that springs from that knowledge. I loved reading them and I praise them to the sky." 

—Gerald Stern

Praise & Reviews for Smoke

"The largely domestic and narrative poems of Laux's Smoke shift between internal and external landscapes." 

Publisher's Weekly

"The poems of Laux's new collection are bound together by images of smoke and fire--tightly, but never so tightly as to seem restrained or constrained. Laux's expansive style opens up each poem, so that we move beyond its situation into a wilder, more extreme place."