The Selected Levis
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The Selected Levis

4.55 of 5 stars 4.55  ·  rating details  ·  366 ratings  ·  29 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...more
Paperback, Revised, 224 pages
Published January 26th 2003 by University of Pittsburgh Press (first published 2000)
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Shawn Sorensen
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...more
Gerry LaFemina
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.
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.?
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
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!
Mar 15, 2008 Tessa rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: pomes
The stalwartness and elegance of this man's mustache is echoed in every line of his poetry.
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...more
Aug 13, 2008 Punk rated it 3 of 5 stars
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...more
Larry Kaplun
Mar 29, 2008 Larry Kaplun rated it 5 of 5 stars
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.
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.
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.
My favorite poet of all time! He takes me to imaginary places like no other writer whether they write fiction, nonfiction, or poetry.
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.
Rediscovering this eight years later is making me very happy at the moment
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.

Larry Levis is one of my very favorite poets -- I never tire of reading his work, over and over ad over....
Charlie O'Hay
Why this guy isn't more famous, I do not know. An excellent collection. Witty, insightful, no sugar pills.
I can't understand his pages and pages of one poem, poems. But this book is OUTSTANDING.
This is the most beautiful collection of poetry I have ever read.
J Frank Parnell
he didn't write
someday you'll find me
but someday
you will
Jeff Streeby
Levis is on my short list of favorite poets.
Michael Gossett
Levis is the best; why not own this too?
Mark Stratton
A most fascinating and satisfying read.
Is now my favorite poet. Ever.
Kenny Jakubas
Must read for the young.
Levis is God!
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  • The Great Fires
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  • What Work Is: Poems
  • Steal Away: Selected and New Poems
  • What We Carry
  • The Branch Will Not Break
  • Pity the Bathtub Its Forced Embrace of the Human Form
  • The Country Between Us
  • The Tunnel: Selected Poems
  • Human Wishes
  • The Kingdom of Ordinary Time: Poems
  • The Battlefield Where the Moon Says I Love You
  • Neon Vernacular: New and Selected Poems
  • Some Ether
  • Selected Poems
  • The Book of Nightmares
  • Fragment of the Head of a Queen: Poems
  • Satan Says (Pitt Poetry Series)
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
More about Larry Levis...
Elegy Winter Stars The Widening Spell of the Leaves Afterlife The Gazer Within

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