Cooler Than October Sunlight
Selected Poems 1959 – 2014
Levy’s poems, over 200 of which appear in this book, were written over a span of fifty-five years. They range from early love through a period of drugs and psychedelics and the dark humor of his 50s into an unlikely tranquility in old age.
Combining precision of observation and language with an ironic worldview, Levy explores the nature of desire and the pull of death. His subject matter includes the Spanish Civil War, acequias and ravens, cacti and sirens, Goya and a historian of zero, Empedocles and ants, and as a backdrop to all, the open sea and its associations. Mythological and historical figures are represented by Daedalus, Bob Dylan, Proust, John Larson the explorer of North Carolina, the minotaur, Machado, Padre Martinez of New Mexico, Susanna and the Elders – all make their appearance in narrations, monologues and lyrics. Many of the poems are for and about his family as he explores the feelings and meaning of being a husband, father and son. Five poems are about his mother, who died at the age of sixty-six. Also included are a selection of Levy’s translations and adaptations from Rimbaud’s A Season In Hell, The Gilgamesh epic, as well as poems from the Chinese, Arabic, Hebrew, French and Italian. Intimate, impersonal, confessional, formal, heart-felt, ironic, these paradoxical meditations and narrations range from the lyrical to the operatic, the elegiac to the mystical, the satirical to the erotic.