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The Selected Levis

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4.47  ·  Rating Details ·  528 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
Edited and with an Afterword by David St. John

When Larry Levis died suddenly in 1996, Philip Levine wrote that he had years earlier recognized Levis as “the most gifted and determined young poet I have ever had the good fortune to have in one of my classes. . . . His early death is a staggering loss for our poetry, but what he left is a major achievement that will enrich o
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Paperback, Revised, 224 pages
Published January 26th 2003 by University of Pittsburgh Press (first published 2000)
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Shawn Sorensen
Sep 19, 2009 Shawn Sorensen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
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
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Allyson
Jan 17, 2010 Allyson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, asu-library
I always enjoy seeing how a poet's writing instinct shifts and changes over a lifetime. I heart you, Larry Levis, you are my new favorite.

ps - mme. unnarrator: do you want me to hand this over to you or should I return it to H.L.?
Gerry LaFemina
Nov 01, 2011 Gerry LaFemina rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Levis was, for me, one of the most important poets of the twentieth century: his poems engage the world in all its complexity. Although I always think its best to read the poems in their individual collections, this is a great primer of Levis's work.
Tyler
Jun 04, 2013 Tyler rated it it was amazing
If you have read Levis, you get it--the blanketing sadness, the attention to detail, the impossible to word worded remarkably. If you haven't read Levis, go now do that.
Cindy Cunningham
Apr 27, 2011 Cindy Cunningham rated it it was amazing
I find that I can only read so much Levis at a time before my heart starts breaking either from joy or from sadness. This means I read him often!
P.
Mar 15, 2008 P. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pomes
The stalwartness and elegance of this man's mustache is echoed in every line of his poetry.
Chetley
Jan 10, 2009 Chetley rated it it was amazing
One of LL's constant themes is identity. For instance, a poem, "Convalescent Home" from his first collection compares the elderly to animals "licking themselves goodbye" and furthers the comparison "They are the small animals vanishing / at the road's edge everywhere." From his last collection, the speaker of "The Two Trees" questions his own identity: "Everything I have done has come to nothing /
It is not even worth mocking." Many times LL's theme of identity also influences another main topic
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Punk
Feb 19, 2008 Punk rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Poetry. These are selections from Levis' six books of poetry, so there's a good representation of the way his style changed over time. His writing is smooth and slightly dreamy; he's not afraid to hare off after a wild metaphor or spend some time toiling away on a subject that, at first, seems to have nothing to do with the poem you're reading.

This is a huge book, with over 200 pages of poetry, and I had to read it slowly so I didn't become overwhelmed by his constant mentions of vines. Yes, he
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Larry Kaplun
Sep 23, 2007 Larry Kaplun rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone interested in contemporary narrative/ lyric poetry.
Larry Levis, who passed away at the early age of 50, left behind seven books of poems. Many of these poems are in "The Selected Levis", and this book gives plenty of reasons why Levis was not only a phenomenal poet, but a neccessary one. A former student of Philip Levine, he achieved his voice through the great inspiration from poets such as Levine, James Wright, and many others, yet as his work matured, he become a powerfully individual voice that I will always admire and respect.
Jennifer
Jan 19, 2008 Jennifer rated it really liked it
My favorite Levis book is still Elegy, but it was neat to see his artistic progression in this collection. There's some real nice surreal influences working in his early poems.
Michelle
Sep 25, 2011 Michelle rated it it was amazing
Unbelievable. I love his cadence. The long and relevant teasing of sentences punctuated with little anchors draw us in at every interval so I don't want to let go.
Jensea777
Mar 03, 2009 Jensea777 rated it it was amazing
My favorite poet of all time! He takes me to imaginary places like no other writer whether they write fiction, nonfiction, or poetry.
Brandy
Feb 11, 2017 Brandy rated it it was amazing
"Sometimes, I go out into this yard at night, And stare through the wet branches of an oak In winter, & realize I am looking at the stars again.
A thin haze of them, shining And persisting.

It used to make me feel lighter, looking up at them.
In California, that light was closer.
In a California no one will ever see again."
-Winter Stars by Larry Levis

I haven't the wisdom to review Levis' work.
When I attempt to share/describe his prose with others, I sound sappy, corny, like a love-sick girl
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Sarah
Feb 04, 2016 Sarah rated it it was ok
A collection like this is perhaps too much for a casual poetry reader. David St. John's afterword helped me appreciate and understand it more, but I think it's better for scholars or people who have lots of time to devote to a selection of a poet's entire body of work. Still, Levis' power and grace and intellect are evident, and I'm not sorry to have invested some time with him. Mostly I'm frustrated that I don't have the chance to take an actual course on contemporary poetry.
Kerstin
Dec 30, 2014 Kerstin rated it it was amazing
I got lost in this book of poetry in a beautiful way. I read 7/8 of the book in one afternoon enveloped in the Steinbeck-like "stories" for lack of a better word. Once the spell was broken, it took a couple of days to finish the book of poems. I never could recapture that afternoon. I can't even remember what many of the poems were about, just that they took me somewhere else. Really cool.
Jason
May 19, 2010 Jason rated it it was ok
while reading this book, i made a note in the margin: "this guy writes like nobody ever lost a father before." and i didn't mean that in a good way. it's a big book & it felt repetitive - but did get a little more interesting toward the end. which is a shame since i was *so* ready to be done with it by that time.
Rose
Sep 05, 2013 Rose rated it really liked it
Levis is one of my favorites and this is a great representation of his work. His earlier work appeals much more to me... I have a hard time sustaining my attention for the longer more abstract work of the latter collections.
Laure-anne
Aug 16, 2008 Laure-anne rated it it was amazing


Larry Levis is one of my very favorite poets -- I never tire of reading his work, over and over ad over....
Charlie O'Hay
Jul 24, 2012 Charlie O'Hay rated it really liked it
Why this guy isn't more famous, I do not know. An excellent collection. Witty, insightful, no sugar pills.
Rory
Apr 05, 2013 Rory rated it it was amazing
Is now my favorite poet. Ever.
S.D. Johnson
Not work I can really connect with in an intellectual, spiritual or personal way, or on the level of language. It doesn't mean it's pointless. But that is my experience of it.
Dylan
Dylan rated it it was amazing
Nov 08, 2015
Haines Eason
Haines Eason rated it really liked it
Aug 08, 2014
Megan
Megan rated it it was amazing
Mar 19, 2009
أحمد
أحمد rated it really liked it
Feb 15, 2014
Michael Maggs
Michael Maggs rated it it was amazing
Oct 27, 2014
Sally
Sally rated it it was amazing
Dec 07, 2007
Yousra
Yousra rated it liked it
Feb 04, 2015
Jason Arnold
Jason Arnold rated it really liked it
Dec 30, 2012
Sara
Aug 03, 2009 Sara rated it it was amazing
This is the most beautiful collection of poetry I have ever read.
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Larry 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 i ...more
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