Dana Levin’s second book, Wedding Day, presents a restless quest to reassemble the pieces of a dissociated life. She searches for intimate connection and meaningful communication, wondering if poetry itself can “wake the drowned out of their anviled sleep.” Poems exploring societal disjunction are mirrored by expressions of a self isolated and divided, a self that rejects easy sentiment. Evident in this collection is a mind hungry to find pattern and connection in all areas of life, yet one that refuses to be deluded by that yearning. Ranging in tone, form, and content, the poems in Wedding Day question and expand the poetic field of an emerging and singular talent.
Six monarch butterfly cocoons
clinging to the back of your throat—
you could feel their gold wings trembling.
You were alarmed. You felt infested.
In the downstairs bathroom of the family home,
gagging to spit them out—
and a voice saying Don’t, don’t—
“Levin’s current work offers insight into the most personal and unspoken thoughts that can be easily overlooked: ‘we were losing our bodies / digitized salt of bytes and speed we were becoming a powder / light / bicarbonate / what we might have seen, if we had looked.’ Her voice speaks to the private wars of self and the dark violence of reflection. Readers will find that this work carries the pulse of their darkest sorrows, in the breath of their humanity. Highly recommended for academic and public libraries.” —Library Journal
“Intimate and hypnotic, the poems of Levin’s wonderful second book operate as a lens through which we are simultaneously granted two views: one into the darker, private interior of the self, the other of an outer-world turned otherworldly by the poet’s eye. Whether turning her gaze inward or outward, these poems question the moral, aesthetic, and metaphysic needs that poetry exists to fulfill; Levin posits a lovely and revelatory analogy when she likens the ‘American poet’ to ‘[a] cricket trilling endlessly against the din of traffic. / Inaudible, unless you stood right at the spot where it lodged itself in a little crack between the walk and the wall… legg[ing] the air ceaselessly where no one could hear it.'” —Ploughshares
“Wedding Day is a book where almost every poem brings surprise… Levin’s verse… remains laser-visioned and transcendent.” —88: A Journal of Contemporary American Poetry
“At her best… [Levin] delivers images that are lonely, beautiful, and controlled… When she allows her poems to breathe, they can be quite astonishing.” —Poetry
“Levin wields each word with the precision of a surgeon’s scalpel… In a world where advertising and on-message politics cheapen and eviscerate language daily, Levin seeks its capacity for truth-lacing the quotidian with magic, elaborating cadence with a musician’s ear… Levin’s poetry, while icy in its depiction of life’s indifference, is so finely wrought that compassion is implicit.” —Santa Fe New Mexican