cover image Justice Piece // Transmission

Justice Piece // Transmission

Lauren Levin. Timeless, Infinite Light, $20 trade paper (124p) ISBN 978-1-937421-25-0

Levin (The Braid) brings cultural theory and visual rhetoric to bear on lingering questions about oppression, power, and social justice in this innovative collection. The narrator, a single mother embarking on a new relationship, offers a veritable ledger of grievances: “Feel frustrated with myself, white women, white feminists, myself.” Presented as an extended meditation in prose, verse, and screenshots, this multi-genre project addresses injustices both large and small, exploring the ways that even the most quotidian interactions can open windows onto structures of power and authority. Levin shows readers the subtle ways that power and disempowerment are internalized, questioning whether “power is being able to forget/ not to have to be aware of your body/ your self as object, self as image.” As the male gaze is internalized by the speaker, each of her actions gets rendered as a performance. Given Levin’s reliance on found language and screenshots, some readers may want more of the poet’s own perspective, or at least to see her further respond to and deconstruct the rhetorics she engages. Still, the line of inquiry that drives the collection is stimulating and necessary. “Make everything ugly/ No aesthetics left/ No mysteries left/ only problems,” Levin writes, but these problems demand attention even as language falters. (Sept.)