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Only As the Day Is Long: New and Selected Poems

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4.34  ·  Rating details ·  149 ratings  ·  35 reviews
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 i ...more
Hardcover, 167 pages
Published January 15th 2019 by W. W. Norton Company
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Edita
Sep 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: dorianne-laux, poetry
We continue to speak, if only in whispers,
to something inside us that longs to be named.
We name it the past and drag it behind us,
bag like a lung filled with shadow and song,
dreams of running, the keys to lost names.
*
Moonlight pours down
without mercy, no matter
how many have perished
beneath the trees.


The river rolls on.


There will always be
silence, no matter
how long someone
has wept against
the side of a house,
bare forearms pressed
to the shingles.


Everything ends.
Even pain, even sorrow.


The swans drif
...more
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
Jul 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
(TW: child sexual abuse) This anthology contains selections from her earlier books of poetry plus some new poems. The early poems dealing with the abuse she suffered as a child and her time in a mental institution are raw and show great vulnerability. The later poems reflect her growing maturity, but the emotions are more controlled/tamed. In the final poems mourning her mother’s death, the child-like vulnerability comes through again. A great collection.
Ken
May 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Cello
Dorianne Laux

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,
slowly carving a niche
in the living branch, shearing away
the rough outer flesh, revealing
the pinkish, yellowish, feverish
inner bark. For years
the dead tree rubs its fallen body
against the living, building
its dead music, making its raw mark,
wearing the tough bough down
as it moans and bends, the deep
rosined bow sound of the living
shouldering the dead.

Kind of cool,
...more
Dorianne Laux
Dec 29, 2018 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Publisher's Weekly Starred Review: Only as the Day is Long: New and Selected Poems
Dorianne Laux. Norton, $26.95 (128p) ISBN 978-0-393-65233-8

Featuring selections from five books augmented by 20 new poems, this generous volume from Laux (The Book of Men) reads something like a life story: notably, one that begins with familial fear, incest, and abuse. Travelling through confusion, adult sex, motherhood, love, fatigue, and redemption, Laux ends where she begins: with her mother, who is, to the las
...more
James Murphy
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dorianne Laux is always interesting. I especially enjoyed the recollection here of previous work and the generous section of new poems. Her poetry becomes more powerful and moving with each publication. The last 2 poems here, about her mother, are excellent examples of how she can be muscular and tender at the same time. She likes to paint herself as a kind of madwoman loose in underwear and wild hair, but I think she has absolute control.
Sally
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is Laux's selected poems, and I could not stop reading it. What powerful, astonishing work with voice and image here. I'll be returning to this collection over and over again.
SabirSultan
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A thousand 5’s. My God, Laux is brilliant.
Anatoly Molotkov
Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"Pebbles grow smaller,/ smoother beneath night's/ rough currents. We walk// long distances, carting/ our bags, our packages./ Burdens of gift." A moving new-and-selected that digs deeply into life - such a sweet gift.
David B.
Mar 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Dorianne Laux is quite the accomplished poet. If I were to suggest one flaw in the work, though, it would be her incessant need to list and lean on monotone syntax.
Clifford
Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Only As the Day is Long by Dorianne Laux is a collection of new and selected poems that I picked up when I heard the poet read in Portland, Oregon at Powells Books. The book includes a large number of selected poems from five earlier collections, as well as a number of new poems in the title section, “Only as the Day is Long.” There is a lot to love here and I’ve been reading it gradually over a month or more. I think I am most moved by the new poems, though, many of which deal with the death of ...more
Antonia
Sep 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2020, kindle
I've read all of Laux's previous books represented in this "collected & new" compendium, but so much enjoyed reading so many old favorites again. And the new poems are extra special, many of them about her mother's life and death. Dorianne Laux has long been one of my favorite contemporary poets. This book is a treasure. ...more
Isaiah Vianese
Apr 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
A wonderful overview of Laux's career, Only As the Day is Long includes the best poems from her five major collections plus twenty new pieces about grief. For fans of the poet's work, this is an essential volume. Strong recommend.
Cai
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So wonderful to see Dorianne's new poems, many of them about her deceased mother. She is, in my opinion, a virtuoso!
Tara
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
all the stars in the sky...
Michael
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dorianne Laux: The Queen, The Rock Star, The RuPaul of Poetry. ❤️❤️❤️
Jeffrey (Akiva) Savett
Oct 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’ve been reading poems; but this is the first book of poems I’ve danced with in a while.

It took me three months to finish this slim New and Selected poems. I just took a chance. Never read Dorianne Laux. In fact, I Googled her so I could see someone introduce her at a workshop—I wasn’t sure how to pronounce her last name. It’s like “low” by the way.

It took me three months to finish because it’s just SO good that I made an effort to savor. I allowed myself two or three poems here. One before sta
...more
Craig Werner
Mar 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
I fell in love with Laux's voice through "The Life of Trees," one of my very favorite poems of recent vintage (and up there in the mix of best ever.) After reading the volume it was published in, Fact About the Moon, I decided that it was time to check out the arc of her career. Very glad I did. Writing in a voice somewhat reminiscent of Phil Levine--she dedicates a lovely tribute to him--but very much her own, Laux's work is remarkable for its consistency. Almost no slow spaces in this collecti ...more
Ja'net
Apr 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Dorianne Laux was the first poet I worshipped as an adult (as a teenager, I was all about the Sylvia Plath). While she is not terribly prolific, when she does publish work, it is consistently strong. That having been said, the first two sections of the book--selections from her first two books--resonated with me more and seem to take more risks if not in form than in content. When I originally read THE BOOK OF MEN, it didn't really do anything for me; the poems are well-crafted (Laux's work is n ...more
Cheryl
Jul 02, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
“There are times when something so joyous or so horrible happens our only response is an intake of breath, and then we’re back at the truth of it, that ball of life expanding and exploding on impact, our heads, our chests, filled with that first unspeakable light.”

“The moon is backing away from us an inch and a half each year. That means if you’re like me and were born around fifty years ago the moon was a full six feet closer to the earth.”


“How many losses does it take to stop a heart, to lay w
...more
Sara
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The more I read this best-of poetry collection by Dorianne Laux, the more I loved her work. This is a poet who takes the ordinary, the darkness, and the squalor of our world and turns each moment into one of grace, beauty, and empathy. Something inside me shifts - literally - when I read Laux's poems. She's like a grittier version of Mary Oliver, with a wider-reaching tapestry of topics and themes but a similar honesty and simplicity in her diction.

Please go read her poems if you haven't yet. O
...more
Dorothy Mahoney
Aug 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
'Heard her read some of the new poems on a podcast by Rattle, many about her mother's death.
Worth finding.
Here in one book are selections from Awake, What We Carry, Smoke, Facts about the Moon, and The Book of Men. A powerful sampling together in one book. (Too bad Norton used such cheap paper.
It feels like newsprint and looks like it will yellow and crumble tomorrow...)
In a list poem, Ode to Gray, Laux juxtaposes images and shows how masterful poets are aware of
sound and meaning. To reread agai
...more
James
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, 2019
An anthology of poems from Laux's first four books, along with new poems. Her poems depict middle class life, the struggles of family with parents facing their own challenges, and the discovery of rock vocalists and other popular culture. A rich voice with raw expression, lyrical but grounded in real life. A magnificent overview of a major American poet. Highly recommended.
Cynthia Arrieu-King
Very solid narrative/lyric narrative poetry from the 80's, 90's and oughts. The themes of death, longing, sex, and the fullness of experience feel simultaneously straightforward here, but also unpredictable. Love "Some Facts about the Moon" and all the favorite poems of hers that are great to teach to intro/undergrad students convinced poetry is fancy and highflown.

Robert Whaley
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow. I'm relatively new to poetry. It has only been in the last four or five years that I have read it in a more serious manner. This wonderful writer has filled my heart with joy. Dark...well yes sometimes...but joyful all the same. Damn good writing. Thank you Ms. Laux.
Amie Whittemore
Dec 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you're a Dorianne Laux fan, you'll like this collection. It's got some of her "Greatest Hits" on it, featuring her trademark precision, tenderness, and verve. It was quite nice to revisit some of her older work and to see the new poems she's cooking up.
John
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Dust never settled
Sublime silver lining of living...
Francescajemm
May 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Life and death love and pain beauty and neglect. It’s all here.
Alana
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a fucking force in poetry. Her poems are getting and human and everything we need.
Megan Alyse
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mfa
I love her so dearly. What a great spread of her work!
Anush
Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Totally blown away, especially by the earlier poems
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DORIANNE LAUX’s most recent collection is Only As The Day Is Long: New and Selected, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She is also author of 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 ...more

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