Read The Selected Levis (Pitt Poetry Series) by Larry Levis Free Online
Book Title: The Selected Levis (Pitt Poetry Series)|
Date of issue: October 1st 2000
ISBN 13: 9780822941415
The author of the book: Larry Levis
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 311 KB
Edition: University of Pittsburgh Press
Read full description of the books The Selected Levis (Pitt Poetry Series):There's an old piece advice you can sometimes use in a difficult situation: imagine the worst that could happen. If it's not the end of the world if that worst thing happens, then make your decision knowing you can handle any outcome.
That is the supreme favor that Levis has given us. I'm afraid of death, afraid that I don't really have any sort of grip on it. This is compounded by the fact that I haven't had many objective, detailed conversations or expositions about death with the people in my world other than reading really good authors. It's not a popular topic among secularists.
Levis addresses death in amazingly inventive lines, in poems that take you to many places at once, in imagining the death of love, the death of our country, the death of every dream he had or was supposed to have as a child. A sample from "Elegy Ending in the Sound of a Skipping Rope":
All I have left of that country is this torn scrap
Of engraved lunacy, worth less now
Than it was then, for then it was worth nothing,
Or nothing more than
The dust a wren bathes in,
The fountain dry in the park off the Zeleni Venac,
The needles of the pines dry above it,
The green shutters of the fruitsellers' stands closed
For the afternoon so that in the quiet it seemed
The wren was the only thing moving in the whole city...
By taking us to the end of despair and beyond - the small, drifting void of loneliness, the stifling heroism of war, the control of government so stilted and self-serving that it disappears from the groundings in our individual lives - Levis creates a situation in which the only thing left is the hope of pen and a blank page, the only feeling a tenderness for any kind of gesture that would meaningfully connect one human being's struggles to another's.
In Levis's world, a figure like Don Quixote wouldn't be crazy. He would be someone courageous enough to follow his own imagination. And while Levis poems can be rangy, twisting journeys, he comes back again and again to the same images within a poem in unpredictable ways that surprise the reader and add depth to metaphors whose deepest meanings aren't obvious with only a few stanzas. His language is conversational and often blunt. At the same time he uses repetition, line breaks and varied sentence lengths to add a natural rhythm and an energetic forward flow that carries the reader along.
Reading Larry Levis, one can get past the sincere yet more trite attempts at verse, the comfort food that wishes for the way things could be before the vital first step of recognizing and understanding the way things really are. Accepting death is only the start.
Read information about the authorLarry Patrick Levis was born in Fresno, California, on September 30, 1946. His father was a grape grower, and in his youth Levis drove a tractor, pruned vines, and picked grapes in Selma, California. He earned a bachelor's degree from Fresno State College (now California State University, Fresno) in 1968, a master's degree from Syracuse University in 1970, and a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in 1974.
Among his honors were a YM-YWHA Discovery Award, three fellowships in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Fulbright Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Levis died of a heart attack in 1996, at the age of 49. His last collection, Elegy, edited by Philip Levine, was published posthumously in 1997.
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