Tuesday, November 6, 2007

"Reading levy in Cleveland"

Check out my recent review essay that appears in Jacket Magazine #34, on a book (d.a. levy & the mimeograph revolution) about the life and work of d.a.levy, a Cleveland poet from the 1960s. This is the opening paragraph:
Ever since I moved to Cleveland six years ago, I’ve been followed by d.a.levy. His poster-sized image — with all the gravitas of those iconic Warhol images of Che Guevara — looks at me every time I walk into Macs Backs Paperbacks, one of the last remaining independent bookstores in town. His voice is uttered in low adoring tones at local poetry readings. Recently, the 60th anniversary of his birth was recognized, and in 2005, Levyfest was held. Was this levy just another iteration of the Famous Local Poet, whose fan base spanned the geography of a postage stamp but whose devotion was outsized, mystical and unquestioning? I worried that he was a third-class Allen Ginsberg, whose poems — unlike Ginsberg’s best works — now emit only the moldering whiff of the Sixties.

I recently received a kind email from Bree, another Cleveland poet and founder of Green Panda Press, who wrote to suggest that 1) levy's spirituality was not as shallow as Allen Ginsberg's statement quoted in the essay suggested it was, and 2) his influence on poetry, especially concrete poetry, should not be underestimated.

No comments: