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Pure Act: The Uncommon Life of Robert Lax (Catholic Practice in North America) Paperback – 3 Apr 2017

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 472 pages
  • Publisher: Fordham University Press (3 April 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780823276820
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823276820
  • ASIN: 0823276821
  • Product Dimensions: 22.1 x 3 x 14.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,098,787 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

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 "

Tender, thorough, meticulous, an act of fine and generous and wonderfully sharp-eyed sharp-eared witness. The riveting mystic Robert Lax would have been delighted at the care and reverence with which Michael McGregor celebrates and resurrects and delves an extraordinary American's many-layered life.--Brian Doyle "Mink River "

"[Robert Lax] was invariably hospitable and welcoming, his presence gentle, humorous, and patient. In short, there's never been anyone like him, and Pure Act, in its offering of a detailed recounting of his life and an acute presentation and analysis of his too-neglected poetry, gives him to us: the gift of a human being unlike any other."--C.K. Williams

This is a biography to which I will return for inspiration.--Rev. Ted Huffman

Michael McGregor's Pure Act is an outstanding contribution to Lax studies and greatly enriches our understanding of the poet-sage, giving readers much unpublished and little-known material.--S.T. Georgiou "In the Beginning Was Love: Contemplative Words of Robert Lax "

"Pure Act is much more than a biography. It's a real and full and personal meditation on life, and on what a life is for.--Karen Fisher "A Sudden Country "

A thoroughly researched and compassionate look at the remarkable life of Robert Lax. Those who know him only as a close friend of Thomas Merton will be delighted with the person they find in these pages: an influential poet, a voice for peace, a wanderer and seeker after truth. Many sought Lax out at his Patmos home; McGregor has made his wisdom available to all.--Kathleen Norris "The Cloister Walk and Dakota: A Spiritual Geography "

[Pure Act] is a deeply moving book concerning how one man followed his own golden string to heaven's gate, one tug at a time.--Nicholas Colloff "Golgonooza "

[Pure Act] will help re-awaken your idealism.--Ron Rolheiser, OMI

"This grace-filled biography is a book I have for years been hoping someone might write, and now, thanks to Michael McGregor, this has become an answered prayer. With grace and insight McGregor bears witness to the evolution of a great artist who is seamlessly connected to his art."--Jim Forest "Loving Our Enemies: Reflections on the Hardest Commandment and Living with Wisdom: A Biography of Thomas Merton "

Review

A fond biography of an unworldly man…vivid and engaging.

A monkish naïve character dedicated to God and writing, Lax maintained his gnomic humour throughout. This was a man of more Beatitude than Beat. Invited by Billie Holiday to go to her apartment to smoke dope and listen to jazz records, McGregor tells us, he declined.

Drawing on his friendship with poet Robert Lax (1915–2000) and his close readings of Lax's writings, McGregor eloquently offers the definitive biography of a too often forgotten figure who influenced a number of writers and crafted spirituality out of his deep commitment to love, poverty, and justice . . . The book effectively brings to life Lax's 'pure act'―naturally living out his God-given abilities without becoming mired in judging others.

Presenting Lax as an embodiment of the 'wisdom of simplicity' and himself as a 'naïve 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.

“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.”

“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.'”

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. Author: Scott Cairns

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. Author: Dana Greene

“[Robert Lax] was invariably hospitable and welcoming, his presence gentle, humorous, and patient. In short, there’s never been anyone like him, and Pure Act, in its offering of a detailed recounting of his life and an acute presentation and analysis of his too-neglected poetry, gives him to us: the gift of a human being unlike any other.” Author: C.K. Williams

Michael McGregor's Pure Act is an outstanding contribution to Lax studies and greatly enriches our understanding of the poet-sage, giving readers much unpublished and little-known material. Author: S.T. Georgiou

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