The Widening Spell of the Leaves

Larry Levis, Author University of Pittsburgh Press $19.95 (77p) ISBN 978-0-8229-3675-6
These long poems join fragments of past pk events with present-day observations, creating gauzy reveries that lure the reader into the poet's dreamy consciousness. What Levis ( Winter Stars ) sees as he looks back is a life populated with images of blankness and extinction, pointing up that we are merely temporary residents in the void that is existence, ``ticking away into / what we can do nothing about.'' Experience occurs as a series of existential still-lifes, frozen moments in time. Remembering a trip to Oaxaca, Levis recalls the ``hush of the mountains above the . . . hush / Of the plaza . . . the / hush that is / Held in paintings the way a breath is held, but held / forever.'' In another poem, Levis asks what it means to be American. He answers: ``It means, mostly, to go unnoticed . . . to type behind a / desk all day where no one / Sees you . . . . To perform your whole life in a silence.'' If Levis's transitions are sometimes unclear, his images are always pk piquant, particularly the final one of this powerful collection: ``Riding beside me, your seat belt around your invisible / waist. Sweet Nothing. Sweet, sweet Nothing.'' (July)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
Paperback - 88 pages - 978-0-8229-5454-5
Open Ebook - 85 pages - 978-0-8229-7927-2
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