Pure Act: The Uncommon Life of Robert Lax - Catholic Practice in North America (Paperback)
  • Pure Act: The Uncommon Life of Robert Lax - Catholic Practice in North America (Paperback)
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Pure Act: The Uncommon Life of Robert Lax - Catholic Practice in North America (Paperback)

(author)
£14.99
Paperback 472 Pages / Published: 03/04/2017
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Excellence in Publishing Award, Association of Catholic Publishers
Honorable Mention, Catholic Press Association Book Award
Finalist, Washington State Book Award
Pure Act tells the story of poet Robert Lax, whose quest to live a true life as both an artist and a spiritual seeker inspired Thomas Merton, Jack Kerouac, William Maxwell and a host of other writers, artists and ordinary people. Known in the U.S. primarily as Merton's best friend and in Europe as a daringly original avant-garde poet, Lax left behind a promising New York writing career to travel with a circus, live among immigrants in post-war Marseilles and settle on a series of remote Greek islands where he learned and recorded the simple wisdom of the local people. Born a Jew, he became a Catholic and found the authentic community he sought in Greek Orthodox fishermen and sponge divers.
In his early life, as he alternated working at The New Yorker, writing screenplays in Hollywood and editing a Paris literary journal with studying philosophy, serving the poor in Harlem and living in a sanctuary high in the French Alps, Lax pursued an approach to life he called pure act a way of living in the moment that was both spontaneous and practiced, God-inspired and self-chosen. By devoting himself to simplicity, poverty and prayer, he expanded his capacity for peace, joy and love while producing distinctive poetry of such stark beauty critics called him "one of America's greatest experimental poets" and "one of the new 'saints' of the avant-garde."
Written by a writer who met Lax in Greece when he was a young seeker himself and visited him regularly over fifteen years, Pure Act is an intimate look at an extraordinary but little-known life. Much more than just a biography, it's a tale of adventure, an exploration of friendship, an anthology of wisdom, and a testament to the liberating power of living an uncommon life.

Publisher: Fordham University Press
ISBN: 9780823276820
Number of pages: 472
Weight: 590 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 33 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"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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