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In the Surgical Theatre
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In the Surgical Theatre

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  117 ratings  ·  6 reviews
A doctor contemplates Lenin's embalmed body; two angels flank an open chest during a heart transplant; a father's anger turns into a summer thunderstorm... Each of Levin's poems is an astonishing investigation of human darkness, propelled by a sensuous syntax and a desire for healing."This is the language of a prophet: Levin's art, in this book certainly, takes place in a ...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published October 1st 1999 by Copper Canyon Press
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Although I find it a great luxury, and feel so fortunate, to be inundated with poetry, one unfortunate side effect is that it’s now rarer for a poem to give me chills, to cause that visceral reaction that thrills me into reading it again right away. When this does happen, I am ecstatic and reinvigorated by poetry’s power. Hence, I am happy to report that this phenomenon happened several times in Dana Levin’s extraordinary first collection. In poem after poem, she meditates on the grotesque and ...more
I re-read this on the train this week and upgraded my review, because I'd forgotten/never noticed how effing amazing the first section is. The second and third sections don't quite (quite) blow the top of my head off in the same way, but hey. I can see their projects more clearly now--I think I was just too young/dumb/envious when I read this before. It's stupendously good--as Gluck says in her introduction, its consistency and coherency and just plain balls-out strength of voice, for a first bo ...more
Aug 23, 2009 Tara rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
Wow. Wow! It took me several months to 'finish' this collection because I was compelled to re-read over and again many (most) of the poems. That doesn't happen too much for me anymore; read Steven Rydman's awesome review and you'll get a good idea of what I mean, I think he says it perfectly.

These poems are certainly grotesque, yet they are also terribly beautiful, savage in their intensity--full of bodies, metal and bone, decay, light. Levin does not avert her eye to the gross horrors of the w
from In the Surgical Theatre by Dana Levin:

Body of Magnesia

When the door between the worlds opened
I ceased to be a ghost, I became
the blood in my fingers in the veins of my hands
I felt the world under my feet
with its nails and its splinters I felt
the salt the red water in the loam of my chest I was

no longer a ghost, the vapors were gone,
I was solid, I hurt, my wings could be broken,
it was joy, I was living in it,
I bled, I cried.

Gritty, exciting, not for the faint hearted.
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Dana Levin is the author of "Sky Burial," "Wedding Day" and "In the Surgical Theatre," which received nearly every award available to first books and emerging poets. The Los Angeles Times says of her work, "Dana Levin's poems are extravagant...her mind keeps making unexpected connections and the poems push beyond convention...they surprise us." About Sky Burial The New Yorker writes: "Sky Burial b ...more
More about Dana Levin...
Sky Burial Wedding Day From the Fishouse: An Anthology of Poems that Sing, Rhyme, Resound, Syncopate, Alliterate, and Just Plain Sound Great Poetry Magazine (September 2014)

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