We are pleased to announce that Pure Act: The Uncommon Life of Robert Lax by Michael McGregor has been named a finalist in the Washington State Book Awards for Biography/Memoir. McGregor currently lives in Portland, Oregon and works as a Professor of English and Creative Writing at Portland State University. Pure Act chronicles the life of Robert Lax, an experimental poet and spiritual seeker whose work and lifestyle influenced Thomas Merton, Jack Kerouac, and countless others. The biography draws on intimate sources such as journal entries, letters, interviews, and even the author’s personal testimony to construct an accurate representation of who Robert Lax truly was.
Perhaps the success of McGregor’s Pure Act is due partly in fact to his relationship with Robert Lax. McGregor met Lax while he was a self-described “young seeker” himself and maintained that connection over the course of fifteen years. Lax spent a large portion of his life in solitude and meditation, in locations such as islands in Greece and the French Alps. He adopted a unique approach to life devoted to prayer, poverty, and simplicity. He coined this approach “pure act—a way of living in the moment that was both spontaneous and practiced, God-inspired and self-chosen,” as described by McGregor. Lax was born a Jew but later converted to Catholicism, but McGregor describes his work as “faith-infused” rather than decidedly Catholic or Christian.
The Washington Center for the Book will announce the winners at the awards celebration on Saturday, October 8, 2016. Pure Act is a fascinating read for spiritual seekers of all faith backgrounds. The work is multidimensional and can reach a broad audience, such as progressive Catholics and Christians seeking faith-infused art, those interested in travel literature, and anyone who is on the journey of reaching a fullness of being. Congratulations again, Michael McGregor!