Author: Gail Carson Levine
96 Pages, 6 x 9
Library of Congress Control Number: 2016903780
Publication Date: 07/16/2016
Cover Art: “Dahlia” © 2015 by David M. Levine • www.dmlevine.com
About the book:
These poems will stay with you. When the world turns to war, you’ll remember “Manufactured Rage,” while “Dreaming Washington Irving” will fast-forward you through the stages of your own life. Called up by such poems as “Reunion” and “Lunch at Monica’s House,” lost friends and family will return and visit. In poems like “L.E.D. R.I.P,” you’ll put the dark in humor up against the funny in tragedy. And if you wonder what ET makes of all of it, you’ll return to “Do They Deduce We Had Lips,” the debut poem in this debut collection by acclaimed children’s book author Gail Carson Levine. Those who look to Levine for the fantastic will find a dog-faced man, Medusa, Pygmalion, a hero of the Iliad, and―Jughead!―seen through a lens more Sexton than Seuss. The emotional range here is both broad and nuanced: humor, nostalgia, grief, shame, anger, regret, fear, and even―occasionally―joy. Throughout, in every-day language gracefully arranged, Levine elevates ordinary ideas and common experience so that all is haloed in light.
Gail Levine’s Transient is a gift to us. Relentlessly, Levine’s imagery delivers a raw truth. Her music questions and celebrates both nature and the terse moments of the personal. These poems have been worked on, shaped, and we believe the speaker when she says, “I’m a good person,//and the sunflower was good, too.” The everyday grows spiritual, monumental. The small things, often taken for granted, all add up to sharp levity and wit, and we are inside Levine’s Transient, a clear-eyed vision honed by experience.
Triumphantly, Gail Carson Levine’s poems are never distant, but are always radiantly close. She burnishes ordinariness with brief candor, catching us the way that Ted Kooser or Issa or even Emily Dickinson (if Emily had shopped at Macy’s and read Archie comics) can do. Each of the poems in Transient blasts a brilliant light because Gail Carson Levine won’t turn away from despair. Her word pictures in visceral color insist that a direct line of vision is the supreme virtue. Each event this poet beholds, whether a brain injury, plaque in the veins or simply old age, becomes “one thing unvaried all the way through.” Transient, in Carson Levine’s own words, creates “spring internal.”