After starting out as a neo-surrealist American poet in the 1970s, Thomas Lux 'drifted away from surrealism and the arbitrariness of all that. I got more interested in subjects, identifiable subjects other than my own angst or ennui.' The later Lux writes more directly in response to more familiar but no less strange human experience, creating a body of work that is at once simple and complex, wildly imaginative and totally relevant. He uses humour or satire 'to help combat the darkness to make the reader laugh - and then steal that laugh, right out of the throat. Because I think life is like that, tragedy right alongside humour.'
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Each of Lux's multi-faceted poems is self-contained, whether it is musing or ranting, lamenting or lambasting, first person personal or first person universal. 'Usually, the speaker of my poems is a little agitated,' says Lux, 'a little smart-ass, a little angry, satirical, despairing. Or, sometimes he's goofy, somewhat elegiac, full of praise and gratitude.'
Luxs characteristic strengths: a mixture of poignancy, humour, the sort of detail that makes his best work tonally complex and emotionally strong, as well as inviting in its skilful use of sound, imagery, line, stanza - mostly some form of conversational free verse - and a diction that is, in Marianne Moores words, plain American which cats and dogs can read. - Beverley Bie Brahic,Guardian
Bloodaxe, which today has probably the countrys most exciting international list, also publishes the American Thomas LuxsSelected Poems. Lux, relatively neglected in the UK hitherto, is a wonderful, ardent and emotionally intelligent poet. Somewhere - but a long way, after Raymond Carver - his poems are urgent with human difficulty, and with understanding. - Fiona Sampson,Independent(Poetry Books of the Year)