April 12, 2016

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Laura's Bookshelf: God Particles

This morning, I was looking for a friend's poetry chapbook.

(The friend is Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka, this year's Harriss Poetry Prize winner. She has a reading at LitMore on Monday evening and has asked a few friends, including me, to choose one or two of her poems to read.)

I checked the stack on my dining room table in my satellite office. I checked both bookshelves and the bedside table in my bedroom. It was until I started pulling down the three large stacks of books on top of the old wardrobe, waking my husband, that I began to confront the truth.

I have a book problem. Except not really a problem, I said out loud, because they are books. This was the point where my half-asleep husband started to laugh. And I said, What I really need is more bookshelves.

I finally located the book, Oblige the Light. (Not on the shelves above my desk, but on the wall of shelves opposite, which is dedicated, mainly, to poetry.)

The cover image is a photograph by the author,
poet and artist Danuta Kosk-Kosicka.
You can read my interview with Danka here.
Occasionally, when I have fits of book madness like this, I declare to my husband: I am going to read every book in this house before I make another trip to the library or buy another book! And then I remember that my children both have shelves and stacks of their own and their rooms are, technically, in this house, which extends my declaration by at least a hundred titles, I'm sure.

Reading is more fun, and the poems and narratives more deeply experienced, when we share the stories and concepts in a book with one another. Since I plan to put a dent in our home library this summer, I will post about the books as I go, with special attention to books of poetry. We'll see how far I get in the Laura's Bookshelf series.

First up is God Particles, by Thomas Lux. 

Find it at IndieBound.
Lux is a mentor and friend of my mentor and friend, the poet and physician Michael Salcman (you can read my interview with Michael here). Michael introduced us at CityLit Festival when Lux was a headline speaker in 2012. I was familiar with a few of his poems, but hearing him speak and perform his poems, I wanted to read more. I bought God Particles, had it signed, and dipped in from time to time. It became my nightly poem book a few months ago. 

I love the sense of humor in these poems, how they dip into the surreal. Trains of thought veer off the rails, but never end in a tangled wreck of ideas. Instead, they travel somewhere unexpected and often profound.

Here is Lux reading one of my favorite poems from the book, "The Happy Majority."

The piece in this book that stopped my heart was "Early Blur," a short, eloquent love poem. It has not been published online. You'll have to buy or borrow the book to read about "Mary of the late slant light of autumn."

Read more about God Particles on NPR.
Thomas Lux's bio at the Poetry Foundation.

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