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.’ 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.’