poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

About this poet

Thomas Lux was born in Northampton, Massachusetts, on December 10, 1946 and attended Emerson College and The University of Iowa.

His numerous books of poetry include Child Made of Sand (Houghton Mifflin, 2012); God Particles (Houghton Mifflin, 2008); The Cradle Place (Houghton Mifflin, 2004); The Street of Clocks (Houghton Mifflin, 2001); New and Selected Poems, 1975-1995 (Houghton Mifflin, 1997), which was a finalist for the 1998 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; Split Horizon (Houghton Mifflin, 1994), for which he received the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award; Tarantulas on the Lifebuoy (Ampersand Books, 1983); The Glassblower's Breath (Cleveland State University Press, 1976); Memory's Handgrenade (Pym-Randall, 1972); and The Land Sighted (Pym-Randall, 1970).

The Late Stanley Kunitz noted that “[Lux is] sui generis, his own kind of poet, unlike any of the fashions of his time.” Rita Dove, writing for the Washington Post Book World, has said, “Try Lux on for size. He’ll pinch in places, soothe in others, but I predict one thing: you may never fit the same way in your own skin again.”

Lux has been the poet in residence at Emerson College (1972-1975) and a member of the Writing Faculty at Sarah Lawrence College and the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers. He has also taught at the Universities of Iowa, Michigan, and California at Irvine, among others. He has been a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award and has received three National Endowment for the Arts grants and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

He lives in Atlanta, where he is the Bourne Professor of Poetry and director of the McEver Visiting Writers program at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He’s also directs the Poetry at Tech program.




Selected Bibliography

Poetry

Child Made of Sand (Houghton Mifflin, 2012)
God Particles (Houghton Mifflin, 2008)
The Cradle Place (Houghton Mifflin, 2004)
The Street of Clocks (Houghton Mifflin, 2001)
New and Selected Poems, 1975-1995 (Houghton Mifflin, 1997)
The Blind Swimmer: Selected Early Poems, 1970-1975 (Adastra Press, 1996)
Split Horizon (Houghton Mifflin, 1994)
Pecked to Death by Swans (Adastra Press, 1993)
A Boat in the Forest (Adastra Press, 1992)
The Drowned River: New Poems (Houghton Mifflin, 1990)
Half Promised Land (Houghton Mifflin, 1986)
Tarantulas on the Lifebuoy (Ampersand Books, 1983)
Massachusetts (Pym-Randall, 1981)
Like a Wide Anvil from the Moon the Light (Black Market Press, 1980
Sunday (Houghton Mifflin, 1979)
The Glassblower's Breath (Cleveland State University Press, 1976)
Memory's Handgrenade (Pym-Randall, 1972)
The Land Sighted (Pym-Randall, 1970)


Multimedia

From the Image Archive

 

You and Your Ilk

Thomas Lux, 1946
I have thought much upon
who might be my ilk,
and that I am ilk myself if I have ilk.
Is one of my ilk, or me, the barber
who cuts the hair of the blind?
And the man crushed by cruelties
for which we can't imagine sorrow,
who would be his ilk?
And whose ilk was it
standing around, hands in pockets, May 1933,
when 2,242 tons of books were burned?
Not mine. So: what makes my ilkness my
ilkness? No answers, none forthcoming.
To be one of the ilks, that's all
I hoped for; to say hello to the mailman,
nod to my neighbors, to watch
my children climb the stairs of a big yellow bus
which takes them to a place
where they learn to read
and write and eat their lunches
from puzzle trays—all around them, amid
the clatter and din,
amid bananas, bread, and milk.
all around them: them and their ilk.

From Child Made of Sand by Thomas Lux. Copyright © 2012 by Thomas Lux. Reprinted with permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

From Child Made of Sand by Thomas Lux. Copyright © 2012 by Thomas Lux. Reprinted with permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Thomas Lux

Thomas Lux

Thomas Lux was born in Northampton, Massachusetts, in 1946. He was educated at

by this poet

poem

the word for the inability to find the right word,
leads me to self-diagnose: onomatomaniac. It’s not
the 20 volume OED, I need,
nor Dr. Roget’s book, which offers
equals only, never discovery.
I accept the fallibility of language,
its spastic elasticity,
its jake-leg, as
poem
weren't built to let the sunlight in.
They were large to let the germs out. 
When polio, which sounds like the first dactyl
of a jump rope song, was on the rage,
you did not swim in public waters.
The awful thing was an iron lung.
We lined up in our underwear to get the shot.
Some kids fainted, we all were stung
poem
At the fence line, I was about to call him in when,
at two-thirds profile, head down
and away from me, he fell first
to his left front knee
and then the right, and he was down,
dead before he hit the...
My father saw him drop, too,
and a neighbor, who walked over.
He was a good horse, old,
foundered, eating