‘Rites of passage’ or ‘initiation rituals’ are powerful tools for those who choose to consciously move into a new phase of life by clearly marking the end of the previous chapter. The intention of performing ceremony has a profound impact on the subconscious – sending a clear message to the individual to prepare for a transition. Join voice master Kara Johnstad and respected poet Dorianne Laux as they dive deeply into exploring rites of passage for voice, in all its modalities (i.e. written, spoken, sung, thought, etc.).
Dorianne-Laux_Voice-Rising_OMTimes-RadioDorianne Laux is an acclaimed American poet and teacher, known for her sensual and grounded witness to the everyday. Contemporary Poet Tony Hoagland describes Dorianne’s work: “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’s most recent work Only As The Day Is Long (2019) is a collection of odes to her mother, an extraordinary and ordinary woman of the Depression era. With deep compassion, Laux explores experiences of survival and healing, sexual love and celebration, Only as the Day Is Long shows Laux at the height of her powers.
Tune in for inspiration on celebrating the voice’s evolution.
On January 10, 1952, Dorianne Laux was born in Augusta, Maine. She worked as a sanatorium cook, a gas station manager, a maid, and a donut holer before receiving a BA in English from Mills College in 1988.
Laux is the author of several collections of 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 the Oregon Book Award, chosen by Ai, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; 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, The Best American Poetry in 1999, 2006 and 2013, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Laux has taught at the University of Oregon’s Program in Creative Writing. She now lives with her husband, poet Joseph Millar, in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she teaches in the MFA program at North Carolina State University.