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Pure Act


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Table of Contents

Prologue: Going Back 1. A Mutual Wonder-field 2. Ends and Means 3. Portals to a Land of Dusk 4. The Cottage 5. Lo, the sun walks forth! 6. Suicide Notes 7. The Scream 8. Aquinas and the Circus Beckon 9. The Siren Call of Hollywood 10. On the Road with the Cristianis 11. Being a Presence in Postwar Marseilles 12. Entering the Lion's Mouth 13. Paris, Jubilee, and Kerouac 14. Inspiration in a Greek Diner 15. A New Poetics 16. "Original Child Bomb" and an Island Home 17. The Sorrow of the Sponge Diver 18. A Saint of the Avant-Garde 19. Alone in the World 20. A Galapagos of the Spirit 21. All Thoughts as They Come 22. The Flaw in the Ideal 23. Hell Hath No Fury 24. Finding a Common Language 25. Pure Act Becomes Pure Love 26. The Peacemaker's Handbook Epilogue: The Singer and the Song Notes Bibliography Index Acknowledgments Photographs follow page

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Illuminating biography of the minimalist poet Robert Lax, a man who embraced simplicity, humility, and poverty and found the pure joy, peace and love he had long sought.

About the Author

Michael N. McGregor is a Professor of English and Creative Writing at Portland State University. He has lectured at universities, conferences, and community events on both Robert Lax and Thomas Merton and is a member of Biographers International Organization and the International Thomas Merton Society.


"Presenting Lax as an embodiment of the "wisdom of simplicity" and himself as a "naive boy who had washed up on his shores", McGregor becomes both unobtrusive character and reliable narrator in this text, connected to Lax by the author's own need for personal searching." -The Merton Seasonal "This is a biography to which I will return for inspiration." -Rev. Ted Huffman "Biographer Michael McGregor periodically visited [Lax] in Greece starting in 1985; his authorial reflections set the tone and character for his excellent biography, revealing the tug-and-pull of the particular in Lax's life." -American Catholic Studies "McGregor, who discovered Lax after reading Merton's classic book The Seven-Storey Mountain as a young man, subtitles his biography The Uncommon Life of Robert Lax. The poet, who spent most of his life living an austere, quiet life in Greece, latterly on the island of Patmos, regarded his dwelling place as 'like living in a church.'" -The Catholic Herald "[Pure Act] will help re-awaken your idealism." -Ron Rolheiser, OMI "Pure Act is a homage, a love letter, an apologia for a curious poetics, and a well-considered story about an uncommon man and his very uncommon life. For us, it may prove something of a wake-up call as well." -- -Scott Cairns The Christian Century "Pure Act is an admiring biography, one that is well-researched and written with affection...While Lax's strange life--McGregor calls it an "uncommon" life--will not cause readers to emulate it, it will provoke them to ponder what it is to be fully human. This is, of course, one of the principal functions of biography, needed now more than ever." -- -Dana Greene National Catholic Reporter

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