Born in Augusta, Maine, in 1952, Dorianne Laux became a published poet only after years of hard, hands-on work as a sanatorium cook, gas station manager, and maid. She began writing poetry when she joined a writing workshop at a bookstore in San Diego. "I was in my late twenties," she recalls, "a single mother working at a small family-run restaurant... I was in therapy at the time and my doctor would ask me to bring in my poems. One day he wrote down an address on a scrap of paper and suggested I go to this bookstore where poets gathered. ...it was here that I heard about night classes in poetry [and] I signed up." She began publishing her own poems in 1982, and won a Pushcart Prize in 1986 for her poem "Quarter to Six." Her first book of poems, Awake, was published in 1990, and was nominated for the San Francisco Bay Area Book Critics Award for Poetry. Laux has received two Best American Poetry Prizes, a Pushcart Prize, two fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She currently teaches poetry in the MFA program at North Carolina State University.
The poet Tony Hoagland says of Laux, "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."