On Thomas Lux’s Poetry: Who’s Laughing and What Good Does the Laughing Do?

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Though Baudelaire is against laughter, arguing it serves no social purpose, I aim to aruge, using functional comic theory, that the poetry of Thomas Lux is often heading toward some social end. His poetry can allow for the ventilation of manageable hostility, the brief disruption of authority, group cohesion, and a beneficial disorder for the creation and/or maintenance of a living order. From each perspective, the poetry of Thomas Lux disrupts order so that it can continue; it preserves order by offering disorder safe harbor. Moreover, this breathing spell from reality offers the chance for bonding with our fellow, and it holds at bay the demons we fear by allowing safe passage for licit perturbation. Turning to Aristotle, Charles Darwin, George Meredith, Henri Bergson, and Marcel Gutwirth to lay my theoretical foundation, I will then formally analyze comic elements in Lux's poetry and explain how his audience's laughter serves some moral utility or works as a social corrective.


Keywords: Comic Theory, Thomas Lux, Audience
Stream: Literary Arts Practices
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: On Thomas Lux’s Poetry


Dr. Jeffrey Hughes Morgan

Associate Professor, English Department
College of Arts & Sciences, Lynn University

Boynton Beach, Florida, USA

Author of Sarah Orne Jewett's Feminine Pastoral Vision, The Country of the Pointed Firs, as well as editor of a new editon of Jewett's Country, Dr. Jeff Morgan has recently concentrated on Florida Literature. His "Deconstructing Paradise: Elizabeth Stuart Phelps' The Story of Avis" appears in Florida English. His essay, "The Founding Father: Benjamin Franklin & His Autobiography," is collected in the very recent anthology Romaticism and Parenting. Also the author of over a dozen published poems, Morgan edits poetry journals, judges poetry contests, and gives poetry readings when he's not researching or teaching Intro to Lit or American Lit classes at Lynn University, where he chairs the English Department. He lives in Boynton Beach, Florida with his wife, Dana, and their son, Colin.

Ref: A09P0398