Blackbird an online journal of literature and the arts Fall 2007  Vol. 6 No. 2


Levis Reading Prize
Joshua Weiner
Khaled Mattawa
Janet Peery
Audio for Archive
Levis Remembered



spacer Larry Levis

Welcome to Blackbird’s sixth Levis Remembered, a visit with the poetry and voice of Larry Levis and an introduction to the tenth annual Levis Reading Prize winner, Joshua Weiner. The prize is given by Larry’s family and the Creative Writing Program at Virginia Commonwealth University to the author of a first or second book of poems chosen by VCU’s panel of judges. Join us in discovering Joshua Weiner’s remarkable poems and in remembering Larry’s matchless witness to the last decades of the twentieth century.

The two Levis poems highlighted this year appeared together in the book Winter Stars. The title poem is reprinted under Larry’s name in the Poetry Menu and “The Cry” is reprinted and discussed in David Wojahn and William Olsen’s elegant essay, “In Praise of Darkness: An Exchange” in Nonfiction. Both of these poems address the poet’s consciousness in its relationship to his family—an evolving separation from home that eventually creates the distance that allows Larry to reanimate his corner of California with such tenderness and honor. These are the poems of an intimate and loving voice, purchased at the price of parting. As he notes in “Winter Stars,”

When I left home at seventeen, I left for good.

Also included in Levis Remembered are poems by Chris Obani and James Hoch that choose to celebrate Larry’s continuing conversation with the poets who read him.

We invite you to enter Larry’s work, both in Blackbird and in his books, and we thank his sister, Sheila Brady, and his son, Nick Levis, for the opportunity to recognize him here.

—Mary Flinn  end of text

   Levis Remembered