This video segment from Poetry Everywhere features the poet Dorianne Laux reads her poem “Dust” at the Dodge Poetry Festival. "Poems keep us conscious of the importance of our individual lives,” says Laux. “Dust” examines a fleeting moment of connection that is swept aside and mostly lost in the busy activity of an average day.
For a biography of the poet Dorianne Laux, please visit the Poetry Foundation Web site.
“Dust” is as short a poem as the moment it describes; it is “just a few words” but we may recognize our own experience in the story it tells. The narrator remembers that “someone spoke to me last night,/told me the truth.” She can’t remember what the person said, but we get a sense of abundance – she is satisfied by both the physical world and by the more abstract world of thought, recognizing truth.
What poet hears the truth but doesn’t write it down? One who lives in the world. A poet gets tired, just like everyone else. But this poet turns her forgetting into success by recording the incident. She describes the words of truth as having a “flavor—/not like food, sweet or sharp,” but like a dust that settles over the narrator and changes the way she sees the world. We want more, she wants more, but this is all there is. By recording this moment, the poet and her readers can learn from it.
Read a biography of the poet Dorianne Laux at the Poetry Foundation Web site.
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