Dorianne Laux was born on January 10, 1952, in Augusta, Maine. She received a BA in English from Mills College in 1988.
Laux is the author of the textbook Finger Exercises for Poets (W. W. Norton, 2024), as well as the poetry collections Life on Earth (W. W. Norton, 2024); Only as the Day Is Long: New and Selected Poems (W. W. Norton, 2019), a finalist for the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry; The Book of Women (Red Dragonfly Press, 2012); The Book of Men (W. W. Norton, 2011), which won the Paterson Prize and the Roanoke-Chowan Award; Facts About the Moon (W. W. Norton, 2005), which was the recipient of both the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize and the Oregon Book Award, chosen by Ai, as well as a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; Smoke (BOA Editions, 2000); What We Carry (BOA Editions, 1994), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and Awake (BOA Editions, 1990), which was nominated for the San Francisco Bay Area Book Critics Award for Poetry. Her poems have been translated into French, Italian, Korean, Romanian, Afrikaans, Dutch, and Brazilian Portuguese.
About Laux’s work, the poet Tony Hoagland has said,
Her poems are those of a grown American woman, one who looks clearly, passionately, and affectionately at rites of passage, motherhood, the life of work, sisterhood, and especially sexual love, in a celebratory fashion.
Laux is also coauthor (with Kim Addonizio) of The Poet’s Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry (W. W. Norton, 1997). Among her awards are a Pushcart Prize, an Editor’s Choice III Award, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
In 2020, Laux was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. She has taught at the University of Oregon’s program in creative writing. She lives with her husband, poet Joseph Millar, in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she taught in the MFA program at North Carolina State University until her retirement in 2022.