The Afterlife

PDF-file by Larry Levis

The Afterlife PDF ebook download As poet, Larry Levis excels at whittling away at everyday things until they reveal something strange and exciting, like in these lines from "A Poem of Horses":

You go further into the blank paper.
You go past the white smirk of the benign.
You find the dark trousers of your father,
The hairpins of your mother.

This sifting action of discovery is explored thematically throughout, forming a lyrical arc in the book that is ultimately celebrated as an aspect of mourning. "This is a good page./ It is blank,/ and getting blanker."

I love the uncanny bursts/ruptures of this discovery process like when he writes in "Signs":

All night I dreamed of my home,
of the roads that are so long
and straight they die in the middle-
among the spines of elderly weeds
on either side, among dead cats,
the ants who are all eyes, the suitcase
thrown open, sprouting failures.

In lines like this, it almost seems as though Levis is sanding down the whiteness of the page until the black ridges of the letters and words surface.

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