Dorianne Laux’s poetry steers through the lives and existences of her subjects, opening them up through vivid and surprising language, and a dedication to the tangible, sensual body as the physical touchstone which orients sensory and emotional engagement.
Laux was born in Augusta, Maine, in 1952, and has published many books of poetry, including The Book of Men (2011), Facts About the Moon (2005), Smoke (2000), and What We Carry (1994), as well as The Poet’s Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry, a book of guidance, techniques, and exercises for aspiring authors co-authored with Kim Addonizio. Both What We Carry and Facts About the Moon were finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She is also a contributing editor for Alaska Quarterly Review.
Writing of Facts About the Moon, in Virginia Quarterly Review, Lilah Hegnauer notes that Laux “takes readers through a gamut of images that have the effect of not only creating the intimacy the you and I of the poem share, but also the intimacy the poet shares with everything she encounters. . . Laux insists that there is a persistence in life that is not limited to the desire of humans for persistence (of love, of distinctive towns, of nature), but also includes persistence of life that is separate, and often unconcerned, with humanity.” (Spring 2006)
Before receiving her B.A. in English from Mills College in 1988, Laux worked as a gas station manager, sanatorium cook, donut holer, and maid. Her poetry radiates outward from the pure physical experience of life inside a living, feeling body, displaying both the surprising physicality and sensuality of language constructed through sensual experience and the honest appraisals of an eye that is both grounded and exuberant. Through her own experiences, 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.” (Jane Hirschfield)
Laux is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, two Best American Poetry Prizes, two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and another from the Guggenheim Foundation. She lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with her husband, poet Joseph Millar, where she teaches at North Carolina State University.