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Last Psalm at Sea Level

4.50  ·  Rating details ·  106 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Lovely does not suffice, nor does lyric. Eloquence is only a grasping in the space of ineffable air. There are few words or phrases that do justice to the soul singing its own revelations. That place is where Last Psalm at Sea Level lives, where it is as solid as gold burning itself into light. --Afaa Michael Weaver
Paperback, 72 pages
Published September 3rd 2014 by Barrow Street Press
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Oct 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The vivid impermanence of the body is like kindling catching, a source of fire for Meg Day, a poet whose fearless heart is tethered to the world. This is a commanding book and a portent for the vitality of poetry.

Especially powerful at its most political, this book is a clarion for social justice in so many ways: "There is a reason//we stand for something. There is a reason we stand up,/do not stand back, stand in solidarity & do not cross/the picket line." Muriel Rukeyser, Audre Lorde and Denis
McKenzie Tozan
Writing reviews can be extremely difficult. What’s ironic, though, is that I tend to find greater difficulty in writing a review about a book that I loved, rather than one I was unimpressed with. Perhaps this is because I tend to find some angle of merit in each work that I read—a particular writing technique, the storyline, a character, the research process, etc.—but it’s often much more problematic finding only one or two favorite things to talk about from a work that I love. With a collection ...more
Amie Whittemore
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful, heart-wrenching book. Day explores grief's many layers, loss, the multiplicity of selves/identity with syntactical deftness and grace. The poems are full of yearning and stillness, silence and song. A marvelous collection. ...more
Jonathan Tennis
Dec 30, 2018 rated it did not like it
As an MFA student in poetry, I read a lot of poetry books. Usually I can find at least a few poems/lines I enjoy. Not so much with this one. Highlight of the book is that I did not know the word “hiraeth” prior to reading the collection’s title poem.
Apr 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Good poet.
Dana Sweeney
Jan 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
For me, this was a lightly mixed bag of a debut that was well worth the read. Day’s best poems are exquisite, and worth reading for. I’m excited to read what Day publishes next and to see how Day’s craft and voice will grow.

The poems sometimes felt more like they were “collected” than a “collection,” which is not me trying to be a persnickety parser of words, but rather to describe the sensation that some poems felt like they did not belong to the whole. There would be several sort of muted, li
Sydney | sydneys.books
Several of the poems went over my head or were less interesting, but the words Day crafts are absolutely gorgeous. I picked this up because one of the blurbs interested me, as Day identifies as transgender and writes poetically about sexuality, religion, and growing up. I loved the writing style but did find some poems to be like force-feeding flowery words down a readers' throat. Would recommend to poetry fans. ...more
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Incredible! Seeing Meg read is even more powerful, and I hope in the future there will be more readings available online.
May 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
1.5 stars

In my last review, I noted how happy I was at the fact that another book of poetry with such a high average rating lived up to its name. However, this review is different. This book was a slog for me, and despite the compelling subject matter presented throughout the book, I just couldn't get into this. My favorite poem, "To Cancer, If That Is Your Real Name," lies more than halfway through the book, so getting to it itself is already a slog, but for it to be the only poem that actually
Courtney LeBlanc
Jun 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
Overall I liked a few poems but none of them punched me in the gut, which is what I want from a collection of poetry.

from Crying in the Lea: "neither quarry hinting at Adam or apple. Follow the two-part / harmony down to the hip bones bumping the door panel interior / as those throats lean & holler, sweat slicking the seats' / perforated vinyl, shifting imprints of bony knees."

from When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail: "his only language a weapon, swinging high & hard / a
May 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016, poetry
I enjoyed the poems in this book. I like to read a few poems every day, so it takes me a long time to finish a book of poems.
This book touches on many interesting themes, death, intimacy, meditations on the body and on violence.
The writing is lovely and there are many powerful images in this book.
Apr 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, favorites
Those ampersands...

& everything else.
Jul 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
excell---the future of the gender odyssey...
Susan Mccarty
Nov 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A gorgeous, painful, profound book; my "heart open like/cracked blacktop, expanding in the sun." ...more
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May 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Stunning, challenging, heart-breaking, gorgeous work. I was reading it on the L and almost missed my stop -- that never happens.
Kim Alkemade
rated it it was amazing
Mar 20, 2018
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Oct 21, 2014
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Meg Day is the 2015-2016 recipient of the Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship, a 2013 recipient of an NEA Fellowship in Poetry, and the author of Last Psalm at Sea Level (Barrow Street 2014). Selected for Best New Poets 2013 and winner of the Publishing Triangle’s Audre Lorde Prize in Poetry, Day has also received awards and fellowships from the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, the ...more

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As if one is a shadow stitched to the other,
they sit, knees bent & parted, cradled in the basin
of the clawfoot, her belly to his spine. She leans
into him, her cheek resting against the blade
in his back, & watches the window above
the pull-chain warm from bath water to blue.
He hangs his head & keeps his hands underwater,
covering all that might split their silhouette.”
More quotes…