Dorianne Laux – Music In The Morning

I was first introduced to Dorianne Laux’s writing when a friend suggested I buy The Poet’s Companion, her book on the craft of writing poetry (co-authored with Kim Addonizio) which then led me (of course) to buy each of her books: Facts About The Moon, Smoke, What We Carry, Awake, and Superman: The Chapbook. There are so many amazing poems in her books, that it was difficult to pick one to post here, but this one from Facts About The Moon has it all, plus that one undefinable quality: it just talks to me.

Music In The Morning

When I think of the years he drank, the scars
on his chin, his thinning hair, his eye that still weeps
decades after the blow, my knees weaken with gratitude
for whatever kept him safe, whatever stopped
the glass from cracking and shearing something vital,
the fist from lowering, exploding an artery, pressing
the clot of blood toward the back of his brain.
Now, he sits calmly on the couch, reading,
refusing to wear the glasses I bought him,
holding the open book at arm’s length from his chest.
Behind him the windows are smoky with mist
and the tile floor is pushing its night chill
up through the bare soles of his feet. I like to think
he survived in order to find me, in order
to arrive here, sober, tired from a long night
of tongues and hands and thighs, music
on the radio, coffee– so he could look up and see me,
standing in the kitchen in his torn t-shirt,
the hem of it brushing my knees, but I know
it’s only luck that brought him here, luck
and a love that had nothing to do with me,
except that this is what we sometimes get if we live
long enough, if we are patient with our lives.

Dorianne Laux

I had the pleasure of attending The Bear River Writer’s Conference this past spring up in Michigan and doing a week-long poetry workshop with Dorianne Laux, and she is as wonderful of a teacher as she is a writer. Here is a picture of our workshop group. I am at the bottom left (in black, of course) and she is at the bottom right, in the trench coat.

By the way, after saying it wrong for many years, she informed me that her last name is pronounced “Lox.”

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6 Responses to “Dorianne Laux – Music In The Morning”

  1. PJ DeGenaro aka Chorophyll Says:

    Oh, lovely. My husband always holds the book at arm’s length when he reads, too. The similarities end there, but it’s still a sweet, tender image.

    Love the photo, too. Nothing makes me happier than writers sitting around a table together in a woodsy, mellow room.

    Okay, gotta run. Getting weepy. 😉

  2. Thanks for posting a Dorianne Laux poem. And thanks for clarifying the pronunciation of her name. I wish all poets would let us know how to say their names–there’s nothing more embarrassing than discussing a poet whose work you know quite well, only to discover you can’t even say their name right.

  3. carol amato Says:

    Why is your copy of this poem not the same as in her book? Many lines have been changed, almost as if they were edited by you. Please comment.

    • paulscotaugust Says:

      It was probably copied from an earlier online version somewhere. Why on earth would I edit her poem? What an odd thing for you to say.

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