Only As the Day Is Long: New and Selected Poems (Hardcover)
A collection of new and selected works from a prize-winning poet known to bear compassionate and ruthless witness to the quotidian.
Only as the Day Is Long represents a brilliant, daring body of work from one of our boldest contemporary poets, known to bear compassionate and ruthless witness to the quotidian. Drawn from Dorianne Laux’s five expansive volumes, including her confident debut Awake, National Book Critics Circle Finalist What We Carry, and Paterson Prize–winning The Book of Men, the poems in this collection have been "brought to the hard edge of meaning" (B. H. Fairchild) and praised for their "enormous precision and beauty" (Philip Levine). Twenty new odes pay homage to Laux’s mother, an ordinary and extraordinary woman of the Depression era.
The wealth of her life experience finds expression in Laux’s earthy and lyrical depictions of working-class America, full of the dirt and mess of real life. From the opening poem, "Two Pictures of My Sister," to the last, "Letter to My Dead Mother," she writes, in her words, of "living gristle" with a perceptive frankness that is luminous in its specificity and universal in its appeal. Exploring experiences of survival and healing, of sexual love and celebration, Only as the Day Is Long shows Laux at the height of her powers.
About the Author
Dorianne Laux teaches poetry in the Program in Creative Writing at North Carolina State University and is a founding faculty member of Pacific University’s Low Residency MFA Program. A National Book Critics Circle Award finalist and a recipient of the Paterson Prize, she lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.
A prodigious imagination that somehow manages to sift through the ordinary, quotidian, and squalid realities of our world, to produce moments of grace and shimmering beauty, and empathetic illumination. Dorianne Laux is a national treasure, a poet of immense insight and masterful craft…Only as the Day Is Long is a tour de force, a work of striking beauty and humanity—a work for its own time.
— Kwame Dawes, author of City of Bones: A Testament
Throughout the years and throughout her five books Dorianne Laux has not faltered. She has wrestled with the angels and with the serpents, eros and thanatos are wrestling still, and the sound they make is the sound of this woman singing.
— Marie Howe, author of Magdalene
Dorianne Laux’s Only The Day Is Long: New and Selected Poems gifts the reader with a foundation that bears the true weight of life and death. Each trope rises out of lived feeling—everyday rituals bend toward the sacred as beauty peers through a pure, honest language. Here, at the heart of mastery, is an American voice paying dues through tribute. These poems dare to sing and cross borders, in step with the natural and universal.
— Yusef Komunyakaa, author of Emperor of Water Clocks
Another splendid new one by one of our best, who never stops paying attention, and is never unwilling, and summons from her readers unwavering trust.
— Mark Doty, author of Deep Lane
In a vast ocean of too-much-to-read out there, I can always find an island of sanity in Laux’s work, and within individual poems, always, always spots of light and breath and truth.
— Lia Purpura, author of It Shouldn’t Have Been Beautiful
Dorianne Laux is one of those poets I turn to again and again for cradling beauty and darkness so close together in a poem.
— Aimee Nezhukumatathil, author of Oceanic