Sky Burial

Dana Levin, Author
Dana Levin, Copper Canyon (Consortium, dist.), $15 trade paper (88p) ISBN 978-1-55659-332-1
Reviewed on: 02/21/2011
Release date: 03/01/2011
Ebook - 96 pages - 978-1-61932-031-4
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Levin's aching but restrained third collection is an attempt to quite literally come to terms with the deaths of loved ones ("The father died and then the mother died/ And you were so addicted// to not feeling them, you told no one about the clamp/ inside," writes Levin). To find the terms she needs, Levin (Wedding Day) hunts in some very far-flung places, including Tibetan and Aztec rituals, Wikipedia, correspondence with close friends, "the symbol book" and the University of Tennessee. These poems are alternately cryptic and crystal clear, though Levin says, in the stunning "Letter to GC," "I would be disingenuous if I said ‘being understood' is not important to me." Of course, what language we can find for grief is often ambivalent and complex, as these poems attest. Levin delves into esoteric mourning, burial, and religious practices—"They weren't really gods, they were/ ‘emanations' "—resurfacing not so much with answers as, to paraphrase Frost, momentary stays against confusion. She finds little in the way of lasting comfort, but much permanent poetry. (Mar.)
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