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  • Date: May 8
  • Time: 7:00pm - 9:00pm PT

Word Works: Dorianne Laux on Music

Doriane Laux Headshot 2In this talk, poet Dorianne Laux examines the musical patterns of poetry. Though there are many formal names for the poetic devices that bring together written word and sounded pattern, the emphasis will be on the syllable and the line. You’ll learn to generate new work with rhythm and music of the line as a guiding force.

Dorianne Laux’s fifth collection, The Book of Men, is currently available from W.W. Norton. Her fourth book of poems, Facts about the Moon, is the recipient of the Oregon Book Award. Laux is also author of Awake, What We Carry (finalist for the National Book Critic’s Circle Award), and Smoke. Co-author of The Poet’s Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry, she’s the recipient of two Best American Poetry Prizes, a Pushcart Prize, two fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Widely anthologized, her work has appeared in The Best of the American Poetry Review, The Norton Anthology of Contemporary Poetry and The Best of the Net.

Suggested Reading that Contains Literary Music from Dorianne Laux:

Holy Sonnets: At the round earth’s imagn’d corners, blow

At the round earth’s imagin’d corners, blow
Your trumpets, angels, and arise, arise
From death, you numberless infinities
Of souls, and to your scatter’d bodies go;
All whom the flood did, and fire shall o’erthrow,
All whom war, dearth, age, agues, tyrannies,
Despair, law, chance hath slain, and you whose eyes
Shall behold God and never taste death’s woe.
But let them sleep, Lord, and me mourn a space,
For if above all these my sins abound,
‘Tis late to ask abundance of thy grace
When we are there; here on this lowly ground
Teach me how to repent; for that’s as good
As if thou’hadst seal’d my pardon with thy blood.


And a poem in which Laux follows the structure and rhyme of Donne:


Death Of The Mother
by Dorianne Laux

At the round earth’s imagined corners, blow
Your trumpets, angels, and arise, arise…

At day’s end: last sight, sound, smell and touch, blow
your final breath into the hospital’s disinfected air, rise
from your bed, mother of eight, the blue scars of infinity
lacing your belly, your fractious hair and bony knees, and go
where we can never find you, where we can never overthrow
your lust for order, your love of chaos, your tyrannies
of despair, your can of beer. Cast down your nightshade eyes
and float through the quiet, your nightgown wrapped like woe
around your shredded soul, your cavernous heart, that space
you left us like a gift, brittle staircase of ifs we are bound
to climb too often and too late. Unleash us, let your grace
breathe over us in silence, when we can bear it, ground
as we are into our loss. You taught us how to glean the good
from anything, pardon anyone, even you, awash as we are in your blood.