Thomas Lux on the Cusp of Poetry Month

by Celisa Steele on April 1, 2011

Thomas Lux

Thomas Lux (photo © Dorothy Alexander)

Thomas Lux read at the Craft Center in the basement of Thompson Hall on the campus of North Carolina State University in Raleigh Wednesday night, and I was glad to be in attendance. He read mostly newer things, including “Dead Horse,” which can be read on the American Academy of Poets’ Poets.org Web site.

In preparation for Lux reading, I decided to memorize one of his poems–I like to memorize poems, and it had been a while since I added a new one to my repertoire, so his reading was a welcome push. I chose “Tarantulas on the Lifebuoy.”

Although he didn’t read “Tarantulas on the Lifebuoy” Wednesday, much of what he read hewed to the same aesthetic–a simplicity of style and voice, a quirky humor, and leaps that can be breathtaking in their unexpected aptness.

“Tarantulas on the Lifebuoy” begins:

For some semitropical reason
when the rains fall
relentless they fall

into swimming pools, these otherwise
bright and scary arachnids.

And ends:

that you are good,
that you love them,
that you would save them again.

How could you not love a poem that starts with rain and spiders and ends with salvation?

The Poetry Foundation has a recording of Lux reading “Tarantulas on the Lifebuoy,” as well as the full text. Give it a listen–not a bad way to kick off Poetry Month 2011.

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