Once I Gazed at You in Wonder: Poems (Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets)

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9780807123652: Once I Gazed at You in Wonder: Poems (Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets)
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Alice Fulton, the judge for the 1998 Walt Whitman Award, calls Once I Gazed at You in Wonder “quite simply, the most endearing book I’ve read in some time.” Readers of this audacious and, yes, endearing collection will agree. Jan Heller Levi has said that her poems are not confessions but conversations. Here, then, are her conversations with the world. What sets Levi apart, however, is that she lets the world answer back. Difficult fathers, ineffectual mothers are forgiven; ex-lovers are blessed. Sophisticated but never jaded, this poet looks in wonder beyond the self: a cup of coffee in one of New York’s ubiquitous Greek diners can launch Levi into a meditation on truth versus compassion; a suite of elegies for her mother takes us from a hospital corridor to the studio of a television talk show where God is the guest; a poetry reading in which she shares the stage with a folk singer illustrates Levi’s gift for illuminating the absurd textures of late-twentieth-century existence.



Don’t you have any happy poems?

he wondered.


Don’t you have any cancer songs?

I asked.


With the narrative drive of great fiction, the consolations of philosophy, and the rigor of art, Once I Gazed at You in Wonder marks the entrance of a much-needed new voice and vision in the conversation that is American poetry.

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From the Back Cover:

"This is such a brave first book of poems! Levi delves into utmost intricacies of origins and destinies, as in mother, as in father, as in husband, as in self bound and un-bounded: A deeply lyrical pursuit sustained by an astonishing intelligence. . . " June Jordan

"In her beautifully realized first book, Jan Heller Levi testifies, with immoderate compassion, to the wonder that we are here at all, witnessing a now in which every moment is spacious. . . . Ardent yet free of gush, the spontaneity and conversational ease of her poems assure that the quality of wonder, like that of mercy, is not strained. In addition to unguardedness and heart, there is backtalk bite and edge, lip and lash. . . . [Once I Gazed at You in Wonder] draws upon the powers intrinsic to poetry and helps me remember its unextinguishable necessity." Alice Fulton, from the judge's citation for the 1998 Walt Whitman Award

"These are passionate poems growing through time into a rueful, black humorous self-knowledge and a constant, edgy love for life in spite of everything: as Zbigniew Herbert says, 'Sometimes you have to offer even the betrayed world a rose.'" Jean Valentine

About the Author:

Jan Heller Levi is the editor of A Muriel Rukeyser Reader and is working on a biography of Rukeyser. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Antioch Review, Iowa Review, and Pequod. She divides her time between New York City and St. Gallen, Switzerland.

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Book Description Louisiana State University Press, United States, 1999. Paperback. Condition: New. New.. Language: English. Brand new Book. Alice Fulton, the judge for the 1998 Walt Whitman Award, calls Once I Gazed at You in Wonder "quite simply, the most endearing book I've read in some time." Readers of this audacious and, yes, endearing collection will agree. Jan Heller Levi has said that her poems are not confessions but conversations. Here, then, are her conversations with the world. What sets Levi apart, however, is that she lets the world answer back. Difficult fathers, ineffectual mothers are forgiven; ex-lovers are blessed. Sophisticated but never jaded, this poet looks in wonder beyond the self: a cup of coffee in one of New York's ubiquitous Greek diners can launch Levi into a meditation on truth versus compassion; a suite of elegies for her mother takes us from a hospital corridor to the studio of a television talk show where God is the guest; a poetry reading in which she shares the stage with a folk singer illustrates Levi's gift for illuminating the absurd textures of late-twentieth-century existence.Don't you have any happy poems?he wondered.Don't you have any cancer songs?I asked.With the narrative drive of great fiction, the consolations of philosophy, and the rigor of art, Once I Gazed at You in Wonder marks the entrance of a much-needed new voice and vision in the conversation that is American poetry. Seller Inventory # APC9780807123652

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Book Description Louisiana State University Press, United States, 1999. Paperback. Condition: New. New.. Language: English. Brand new Book. Alice Fulton, the judge for the 1998 Walt Whitman Award, calls Once I Gazed at You in Wonder "quite simply, the most endearing book I've read in some time." Readers of this audacious and, yes, endearing collection will agree. Jan Heller Levi has said that her poems are not confessions but conversations. Here, then, are her conversations with the world. What sets Levi apart, however, is that she lets the world answer back. Difficult fathers, ineffectual mothers are forgiven; ex-lovers are blessed. Sophisticated but never jaded, this poet looks in wonder beyond the self: a cup of coffee in one of New York's ubiquitous Greek diners can launch Levi into a meditation on truth versus compassion; a suite of elegies for her mother takes us from a hospital corridor to the studio of a television talk show where God is the guest; a poetry reading in which she shares the stage with a folk singer illustrates Levi's gift for illuminating the absurd textures of late-twentieth-century existence.Don't you have any happy poems?he wondered.Don't you have any cancer songs?I asked.With the narrative drive of great fiction, the consolations of philosophy, and the rigor of art, Once I Gazed at You in Wonder marks the entrance of a much-needed new voice and vision in the conversation that is American poetry. Seller Inventory # APC9780807123652

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Book Description Louisiana State Univ Pr. Paperback. Condition: New. 96 pages. Dimensions: 9.0in. x 5.5in. x 0.4in.Winner of the 1998 Walt Whitman Award of The Academy of American Poets. Given in Memory of Eric Mathieu King This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Seller Inventory # 9780807123652

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