Superstition Review staff member Abner Porzio submitted his review of Dorianne Laux’s Facts About the Moon for our Goodreads.com page in December.
This is one of those books that can be read over and over again to reach the same or different understandings of how it feels to be alive. This fantastic collection of poems is one that has the potential to never cease to resonate with its readers. Readers can feel its charged energy. Without a doubt, this collection will continue again and again to be cherished. The body of shared experience can become part of the reader. Throughout Laux’s work, the question of purpose juxtaposes with desire. Human nature is made by Laux to be majestic, raw, visceral, and magical all at the same time. It’s rare if readers do not admire her title poem, “FACTS ABOUT THE MOON.” Respect for Laux’s lines: “her eyes/ two craters, and then you can’t help it/ either, you know love when you see it,/ you can feel its lunar strength, its brutal pull,” this indefinable moment of realization is yet a written snapshot of the poet’s capability of capturing such emotional weight.
Yes, these poems are true to the characters and speaker on the page. For example, in Laux’s poem “THE IDEA OF HOUSEWORK,” she takes the banal activity of cleaning, of doing domestic chores and she renders this experience into the universal question of what’s the point. Laux’s poems become sort of facts of themselves, they can be seen as testaments of fully experienced realities.
Laux successfully poetizes exotic events worth preserving. The poem titled “MORNING SONG” shows the fresh glimpse of what a “sleep-repaired morning” entails, along with the subjective perception that is shown perfect for its causality, forged with aligned imagery: “that for each of use there is/ some small sound like an unseen bird or/ a red bike grinding along the gravel path/ that could wake us, and take us home.” Laux’s poems contain the most incredible imagery.
Some lines that I enjoyed:
“Why should the things of this world/ shine so? Tell me if you know.”
“This walk in the park is no/ walk in the park.”
“Even sinus infections and rusty rake tines sunk/ in rank earth near the shed. Mushroom spores.”
“I never wondered. I read. Dark signs/ that crawled toward the edge of the page.”
“Go on, he beseeches, Get going, but the lone elk/ stands her ground, their noses less than a yard apart./ One stubborn creature staring down another./ This is how I know the marriage will last.”
You can read Laux’s poem On The Edge in s[r] Issue 8.