CORCAITA “CORKY” CRISTIANI HAS DIED AT 94

(photo from the Florida State University digital library–click here to learn more about this image)

News came this past month that Corcaita “Corky” Cristiani has died. She was the youngest and last of the Cristiani generation Lax knew. I haven’t been able to find an obituary for her, but the following is from a Facebook post (written by Chris Berry):

“Corky Cristiani–the last of the original family members who came to the United States from Italy in 1934–has passed away.
Over the years she appeared not only as a graceful “ballerina on horseback,” but also as an aerialist.
Corky Cristiani was the youngest member of the original act, which eventually grew to at least 39 performers–all of whom traveled with the family’s Cristiani Bros. Circus in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
The family appeared with Hagenbeck Wallace and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey and Al G. Barnes Sells-Floto along with the Cole Bros. railroad circus prior to starting their own show.
She appeared with the family act for many years, and in 1962 she doubled for Doris Day in the film JUMBO.
She was 94.”


Lax came to know Corky better after she and her husband, the abstract painter Dave Budd, moved in 1954 from Florida to New York City, where Lax was living at the time.

Corky appeared in a second film, too: “Unstrap Me” (1968) by the underground filmmaker George Kuchar.

Click here to learn more about Billy Rose’s circus film “Jumbo” and watch a trailer.

If you’d like your own Glen Tracy painting of a clown handing a rose to Corky in her circus outfit and you have $3,500-5,000 to bid at auction–or you’d just like to look at the painting–click here.

And if you’d like to see more pictures of the Cristianis and learn a bit more about them, click here.


Actor Joe Knezevich Will Read the Audio Version of PURE ACT

I just found out an actor named Joe Knezevich is doing the reading for the forthcoming audio version of Pure Act: The Uncommon Life of Robert Lax.

Here’s a link to Joe’s website, which includes trailers showing him in movies and commercials as well as snippets from audio books he’s done: http://www.joeknezevich.com/demo.html. Among his many credits is a recurring role on the long-running TV series The Vampire Diaries.

Joe has a great voice. I’m excited he’s doing the book.

The Latest Issue of the Robert Lax Newsletter Has Just Been Mailed

The September 2021 issue of the Robert Lax Newsletter has just gone out to subscribers. The newsletter, now in its 6th year, is a compendium of the latest Lax news alongside features about his relationships to individuals, the arts, poetry, Greece, and many other subjects. It is filled with photographs and links.

The latest issue includes:

  • A meditation on Lax and the visual arts.
  • News about the death of Corcaita “Corky” Cristiani, the last performer Lax knew personally in the family of acrobats he loved and was inspired by–with links to Corky’s film career and other Cristiani information.
  • Images of some of Lax’s first poems, published when he was 18.
  • News of new Lax-related publications.
  • Words by Lax on how to be present and truthful and soulful in writing.

Newsletter subscribers receive stories and news before they’re posted on the website, as well as exclusive information, stories and meditations.

The newsletter is free. To subscribe, click here and enter your email on the left side of the page.

“That Feeling of Having Something Quieted in You”

“One of the things I wish for poetry is that it’s somehow useful. Like a lemon or a hair brush. Like a glass of water in the middle of the day. And to me, Lax’s poems feel useful. They offer me something that’s hard to find. A companion as close as my own breath & one who is invisible, like wind. Being inside a Lax poem is like being in a cemetery, which is a place where judgment can’t live. Like coming out of a lake and being a little stunned to sit or drink or walk on the Earth. That sort of woken up feeling you get and lose quickly. That feeling of having something quieted in you. I love that. Walking away from a party, hearing less and less voices, until suddenly, somehow, you’re under a tree in the middle of the night.”

–from “The Internet is Over” by Astro Poets

Short New Video about Robert Lax and the Circus

This past spring, Cirkus Cirkör, the Swedish circus company that co-produced Philip Glass’s new opera, “Circus Days and Nights,” based on Robert Lax’s circus poems, asked me to be help with a video introducing Lax to its audience. The video won’t be released until dates for the opera’s upcoming world tour are ready to be announced, but Cirkus Cirkör has given me permission to give Lax fans a sneak peak.

To watch the video, click here.

The First German Translation of Lax’s 33 Poems Is Now Available!

Sprachichter Verlag has just released the first German translation of one of the best collections of Robert lax poems, 33 Poems (33 Gedichte). This first edition is limited to 100 hardcover copies. Sprachlichter will publish a second edition in 2022.

To read more about the book (in German) or purchase a copy, click here.

Note from MNM: I’m pleased to be listed as a contributing editor for the book. My German isn’t terribly good but I speak fluent Lax and was able to help improve the translations.

The Latest Lax Newsletter Has Just Gone Out!

The latest issue of the Robert Lax Newsletter went out to subscribers on Friday. This is a free newsletter that gives you thoughts, news and links related to Lax before they appear on the website–as well as exclusive material. The most recent issue explores the different views Lax fans have of him, his evolving reputation as an important poet, and the new Philip Glass opera based on his circus poems.

To sign up, click here and enter your email address in the white box. Then just click “subscribe”!

It’s Wonderful!: Don’t Miss the Chance to Live Stream the New Philip Glass Circus Opera

I just watched the live stream of the premiere of new Philip Glass circus opera based on Robert Lax’s poems. Wow! It is a wonderful show! If you haven’t bought tickets for one of the performances, you should do so now. It runs through June 13, with all of the shows live streamed for just $12. You’ll never be able to see this show again for that price. If you love Lax, Glass, the circus, opera, theater, spectacle, life, order your ticket now: https://www.malmoopera.se/circus-days-and-nights-in-english

Trailer: A Glimpse of the Wonderful New Philip Glass-Robert Lax Opera

A trailer for Philip Glass’s new opera, “Circus Days and Nights,” based on Robert Lax’s poems, just came out. It gives a exciting first glimpse at the show. Just click below.

Tickets for a live streaming of the opera are still available. It runs May 29-Jun 13. For show information and ticket ordering, click here.