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Facts About the Moon

4.33  ·  Rating Details ·  635 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews
In her powerful fourth collection, Dorianne Laux once again strikes fire from neighborhood moments: a quiet street at dusk, a pool hall, a bare tree. Focusing on the grace of working people, she captures the pain and beauty of women in all their variety, caught in the "lunar pull" of our time.
Paperback, 104 pages
Published May 17th 2007 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 2005)
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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeThe Giving Tree by Shel SilversteinBridge to Terabithia by Katherine PatersonEast of Eden by John SteinbeckThe Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
Trees on Covers
174th out of 580 books — 135 voters
They Won't Shut Up by Cindy J.  SmithVoices In My Head by Cindy J.  SmithMeeting With Christ and Other Poems by Deepak ChaswalFrom Where I Stand by Robert   ZimmermannA World of Verse by Christopher  Shields
Best Collection of Poems by Living Authors
407th out of 518 books — 495 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Danielle DeTiberus
Jul 29, 2008 Danielle DeTiberus rated it really liked it
Yes! Finally! A nerd like the rest of us can make beautiful some facts about the moon, learned from the Discovery Channel. And then, of course, as only Dorianne might do: make a metaphor of it that will break our hearts.
Aug 29, 2015 Kelly marked it as to-read
Writer's Almanac has been posting some killer poems from this, and it takes a lot for me to be that captivated by a poem.
May 26, 2015 Ed rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Dorianne Laux is a treasure. She writes the lightness and darkness of living in a way that takes you there. You can almost smell the smell of new mown grass and the sounds of crickets in the evening.
Apr 13, 2010 Zinta rated it it was amazing
No time lost, the opening poem immediately, stunningly, reminds me why Dorianne Laux still ranks among my top three favorite poets and keeps giving the other two a really hard time. “The Life of Trees” swirls me back into memory, all senses remembering. Once again, I am lying in my bed in the dark of a backcountry night, shack on a dirt road, tree branch scratching along the glass pane of my window.

… I want to sleep
and dream the life of trees, beings
from the muted world who care
nothing for Mone
Aug 31, 2013 David rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Dorianne Laux's poems are gorgeous moving pictures of an attentive, everyday life. With expert judgment and a true ear for music, Laux brushes through the thorny, face-scratching landscape of death, sex, and the common life, alternating between poems that branch into the past for clarification and insight and those that vine into the vivid, shifting world of the present for clues of how to live and for whom. Laux's poems could be set anywhere, it seems to me, but quite a few take us to the ...more
May 30, 2011 Antonia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2011
This is a great collection. I can't get over how well she uses image, how image opens and opens and you become swept up in it, and suddenly see that you've been privy to an entire story that now, in a way, has become part of your own life. There's much sensuality, some humor, tremendous tenderness and joy.

The title poem is stunning, but there are so many other good ones, too.


When a dead tree falls in a forest
it often falls into the arms
of a living tree. The dead,
thus embraced, rasp in wind,
Oct 14, 2014 Sally rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
This book is smart, fierce, lyrical, and gorgeous. Layered figurative imagery, music, a narrative impulse that engages human and animal worlds, family, faith (or lack of it) and is powerful in its restrained and strategic balance between image and utterance. Some of these poems just cut me. I have pages of notes about it, but really, I just want to say, you should read it. In "Hummingbird," Laux writes, "We buried the hummingbird/ in his mantle of light, buried/ him deep in the loam, one ...more
Sep 21, 2008 Jane rated it it was amazing
Dorianne Laux brought me into Goodreads... This is her most recent book and each one grows only stronger and more expansive. Building from her beginning work which carried primarily the narratives of the personal, Laux now carries the narrative of moon, trees, the culture... without losing the erotic charge of language and life that have been hers from the start.
Jul 02, 2008 Donna rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-poetry
Awesome! I love Dorianne's poetry and this book is simply delightful. I had the privilege of hearing her read pieces of this when she was in Rochester, so I have the added pleasure of "hearing" her voice each time I reread bits and pieces of this.
Superstition Review
Dec 19, 2013 Superstition Review rated it it was amazing
Shelves: issue-8-poetry
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. ...more
Sarah Schantz
Jul 03, 2015 Sarah Schantz rated it it was amazing
Dorianne Laux, like Ellen Bass, Marie Howe, Sylvia Plath, and Anne Sexton is helping me to fall in love with poetry in a way I honestly never knew I would. The attention to narrative, the caretaking of sound, the placement of text on the page, but most of all the absolute and profound honesty evident in these pages all made me swoon as I read this collection. I literally had to force myself to slow down, to savor each gem of a poem, and then I went through the poems again and again, cultivating ...more
Nov 07, 2008 Matt rated it it was amazing
As much as I enjoyed _Awake_, I don't think I was prepared for how satisfying this book would be.... Laux takes her strong line and skill with a striking image and applies it to a much wider from of experience and emotion than in her first book and the results are really really thrilling.

There's still some of the righteous anger and hurt, of course, but there's more as well-- lovely poems about Alaska that conjure up visions of S Palin back at her day job, poems about chemo and death, and a love
Robert Lashley
May 24, 2011 Robert Lashley rated it it was amazing
The problem with poetry books about nature is that too often the author tends to superimpose a fixed set of ideas to the setting; along with fixed answers that they want the setting to give them. In Facts about the Moon, Dorianne Laux doesn’t escape this tendency as much as make you believe her ideas as much as you believe your own. In the background of the oregon woods, Laux find new ways to fuse her complex themes of class, sex, gender, love, and humanity into great poetry. In her best work ...more
Feb 08, 2013 Laura rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, favorites
If I typed all the poems and passages that resonated with me in this collection, I could find myself transcribing the entire book.

Here is one excerpt:

. . . I can hear
each bird's separate song, the chirt and scree,
the sip, sip, sip, the dwindle and the uplift yearning,
the soup's on, soup's on, let up, let it go
of each individual voice, and I know I am here,
in this widening light, as we all are, with them,
even the most damaged among us or lonely
or nearly dead, and that for each of us there is
Larry Kaplun
Mar 29, 2008 Larry Kaplun rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone interested in contemporary narrative poetry.
Dorianne Laux's fourth book of poems is her most mature and strongest book. Though she's moved on from powerful themes like childhood sexual abuse, working minimum wage jobs, early marriage, and single-parenthood, she's beautifully transitioned into broader themes such as the environment in poems such as "The Life of Trees", the unknown status of the moon in the title poem, a joyful marriage in poems such as "Face Poem", "Vacation Sex", "Music in the Morning", and everyday life in many other ...more
Feb 07, 2010 Tyler rated it really liked it
The cover makes me really happy.

Laux has the right mix of lyric and narrative to make me go "oh wow I feel this I'm human thanks cool."

Let's look at "The Crossing." Laux is at her best in these type of poems. I'm reading this poem, but I'm also seeing this poem. Cool metaphors that work, they really work "slow as a Greek frieze" (thank you Mrs. Garner, my high school Latin teacher). As a newly married person, I know this feeling, but this poem makes me see this feeling.

Some of the non-stanza poe
Jan 21, 2010 Rivka rated it it was amazing
Adventures in intertextuality! Find a book of poems you like (or any book really), grab a pencil and go to the preface or the acknowledgments or both. This is the best place to go to for Further Reading: here are the author's influences separated by commas. This is how I found Dorianne Laux and boy am I glad I did. I read this book primarily on the subway and found myself having audible reactions to the book's eponymous poem and "Music in the Morning." Gorgeous imagery and completely relateable ...more
Apr 11, 2011 Chelsea rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011, poetry
I haven't read all that many poetry collections in my life, so I don't really have a wide range of comparison, but I really enjoyed this collection. I'd been reading a few Dorianne Laux poems from some books I had on creative writing, so I thought I'd give one of her books a try. There's really some BEAUTIFUL phrasing in here. Her concepts and language are truly stunning, and even if not every poem is your cup of tea, there's such a wide variety that I'm sure most people will find something to ...more
Oct 11, 2007 Punk rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Poetry. I like Laux's sensuality, the way she can capture a single image or tell a whole story in the same amount of space. She's got her moments of sly humor and clever line breaks, and she can bring the quiet angst, too. Her writing flows smoothly, no hundred dollar words or convoluted narratives, just a clear, easy voice.

Some of my favorites: Cello, Vacation Sex, Laundry and Cigarettes, Puzzle Dust, What's Terrible.
Dan Gobble
Jan 24, 2015 Dan Gobble rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-books, poetry
To quote Laux,
"Tonight, I am in love with poetry
with the good words that saved me,
with the men and women who
uncapped their pens and laid the ink
on the blank canvas of the page.

. . . I am wounded with tenderness for all who labored
in dim rooms with their handful of words,
battering their full hearts against the moon."

("Tonight I Am In Love", p. 87, as found in "Facts About the Moon" by Dorianne Laux)
Apr 06, 2014 Cheryl rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Lyrical, clear, honest, emotional, gently powerful, surprising -- Laux's poetic voice delivers sometimes shocking truth in perfect clarity with compassion and complete acceptance of herself and the rest of us. "If trees could speak they wouldn't." One of the saddest lines I've ever read is from her poem What's Broken: "Possible, unthinkable, / the cricket's tiny back as I lie / on the lawn in the dark, my heart." I love her poems about ordinary things.
Jan 23, 2013 Ariadne rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
This is a lovely collection. A lot of the poems center on the mundane and nature, which resonated with me. And while these poems are astute and lyrical, they are also accessible. I'd recommend this to both those just dipping their toes into reading poetry, and to long time readers who like grounded and earthy works.

Book #4 for 2013
R.G. Evans
Oct 27, 2010 R.G. Evans rated it it was amazing
This book was exactly what I needed just now. "Accessible" poems which render the quotidian details of life limitless, poems where safety is a temporary harbor, but a place where beauty resides because it IS temporary. Poems such as "A Walk in the Park," "Cello," "What's Terrible," and "Superglue" reminded me of why I read poems and why I should try harder to write better ones myself.
Jul 07, 2014 Amy rated it really liked it
The title poem of this collection reminds me so much of Philip Levine's title poem from his collection, What Work Is. There is a similar tender yet hard-edged tone and language. This pervades Laux's entire volume, but the title poem is undeniably Levine-esque.
Jan 30, 2009 Juliet rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
2 1/2 stars for me based on what I read.

Didn't finish. Just not my style.
One of those "tweeners" hanging in the zone between 3 and 4 because some poems are stronger than others. Although there are all kinds of poems in this short collection, Laux's go-to structure is the single stanza big-boy. It might stretch to two pages but seldom makes it to three.

What's attractive about the work is how Laux finds poetry in the prosaic (a fine place to find poetry) -- things like trees, sex (did I say "prosaic"?), ravens, hummingbirds, the moon (of course), Germans, spring, a fa
Oct 21, 2014 Susan rated it did not like it
I made it to page 20 wherein the poem "Democracy" Laux writes: "You can feel it now: why people become Republicans: "Get that dog /off the street. Remove that spit and graffiti. Arrest those people huddled /on the steps of the church." If it weren’t for them you could believe in god." All I felt was alienated and I couldn't believe how removed from the truth I found that bit of writing. I also find the common practice of party bashing (most notably Republican bashing in poetry) to be terribly ...more
Oct 01, 2011 Katie rated it really liked it
gorgeous. read it in an airport, one of the best places on the planet to read poetry. laux writes about: trees, sex, kissing, the moon, alaska, plants, skeletons, public transportation, daughters, sisters, dirt, cigarettes. she is the poet that woke me back up to poetry, and for that i am boundlessly grateful.
Patti K
May 06, 2013 Patti K rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
This volume of poetry is a 2006 selection by Laux. The poems overall are uneven,
but when she hits the mark she shines. Some of them are raw reminiscences and some
are lighter, like Laundry and Cigarettes, and Kissing Again. She co-edited a poetry
guidebook with Kim Addonizio several years back which is a wonderful book. I would
read her again.
Mar 02, 2008 Caroline rated it really liked it
This is the only Laux book I've read, so I don't know if it's the best, but I really enjoyed it. The book itself is beautiful; the poems are eloquent and subtle. By that I mean you probably won't be jazzed by knockout individual lines, but the poems as a whole shift and travel in a wonderful way, especially the title poem.
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DORIANNE LAUX’s most recent collection is The Book of Men (W.W. Norton) which won the Paterson Prize for Poetry. Her fourth book of poems, Facts about the Moon (W.W. Norton), is the recipient of the Oregon Book Award, chosen by Ai. It was also short-listed for the 2006 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize for the most outstanding book of poems published in the United States and chosen by the Kansas City ...more
More about Dorianne Laux...

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“If trees could speak they wouldn't” 18 likes
“The slate black sky. The middle step
of the back porch. And long ago

my mother's necklace, the beads
rolling north and south. Broken

the rose stem, water into drops, glass
knob on the bedroom door. Last summer's

pot of parsley and mint, white roots
shooting like streamers through the cracks.

Years ago the cat's tail, the bird bath,
the car hood's rusted latch. Broken

little finger on my right hand at birth--
I was pulled out too fast. What hasn''t

been rent, divided, split? Broken the days into nights, the night sky

into stars, the stars into patterns
I make up as I trace them

with a broken-off blade
of grass. Possible, unthinkable,

the cricket's tiny back as I lie
on the lawn in the dark, my hart

a blue cup fallen from someone's hands. ”
More quotes…