In the Surgical Theatre

Dana Levin

APR/Honickman First Book Prize winner

A doctor contemplates Lenin’s embalmed body; two angels flank an open chest during a heart transplant; a father’s anger turns into a summer thunderstorm. Each of Levin’s poems is an astonishing investigation of human darkness, propelled by a sensuous syntax and a desire for healing. Winner of the APR/Honickman First Book Prize, In the Surgical Theatre was selected by Louise Glück, who wrote, “at the book’s center… is the surgical theatre, an image, like Plath’s bees, metaphorically fertile, its manifold resonances revealed though Levin’s extraordinary and demanding intelligence… What in such a smaller talent might have proved repetitious, banal, self-glorifying, is, here, the heart of an astonishing book.”

ISBN: 9780966339536

Format: Paperback

About the Author

Dana Levin is the author of five collections of poetry, most recently Now Do You Know Where You Are (2022), a New York Times Notable Book. Her first book, In the Surgical Theatre, was chosen by Louise Glück for the 1999 APR/Honickman First Book Prize and went on to receive numerous honors, including the 2003 PEN/Osterweil Award. Copper Canyon Press brought out her second book, Wedding Day, in 2005, and in 2011 Sky Burial, which The New Yorker called “utterly …

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“This fiercely intelligent book is grounded firmly in the realm of American confessional poetry, but Levin wisely and skillfully manipulates conventional boundary lines.” —Ploughshares

“Dana Levin’s debut collection is nothing short of extraordinary, replacing an anesthetized sort of existence with seeing and feeling.” —Bookreporter

“Sensuous, compassionate, violent, extravagant: what an amazing debut this is, a book of terrors and marvels.” —Louise Glück

“Dana Levin illuminates all that is true. Using microscopic vision… Dana Levin has crafted an evocative examination of the contents of the human heart… Levin’s clarity of perception surges through each line of her poetry like a lightning bolt intent on cracking open not just what we see, but how we see.” —Pasatiempo

“Levin writes a harrowing poetry that at times aspires to the unstable intensity of Sylvia Plath and the millennial resonance of Tony Kushner.” —Publishers Weekly

“Dana Levin’s first poetry collection… is a true stunner, alive and pulsing in the reader’s hand… Levin has the skilled ear, magnificent tongue and fierce mind of the truly prophetic.” —Rain Taxi

“To read Dana Levin’s first book of poems, In the Surgical Theatre, is to enter a world where… beauty and terror are two sides of the same coin, a world that provokes and challenges a reader’s sensibility, ear, and intelligence.” —Santa Fe New Mexican