Mr. Memory & Other Poems (Penguin Poets) (Paperback)

Mr. Memory & Other Poems (Penguin Poets) By Phillis Levin Cover Image
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A Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize

An intimate, richly textured new collection from Phillis Levin, a poet whose work "shimmers with gracefulness" (David Baker)

Phillis Levin's fifth collection of poems encompasses a wide array of styles and voices while staying true to a visionary impulse sparked as much by the smallest detail as the most sublime landscape. From expansive meditation to haiku, in ode and epistle, dream sequence and elegy, Levin's new poems explore motifs deeply social and historical, personal and metaphysical. Their various strategies deploy the sonic powers of lyric, the montage techniques of cinema, and the atavistic energies of the oral tradition. Throughout this volume, the singularity of person, place, and thing--and the plurality of our experience--assert their uncanny presence: an ash on a crackling log, a character from Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps, a burgundy scarf, an x-ray of Bruegel's "Massacre of the Innocents," and a demitasse cup from Dresden are all woven into a collection by turns rhapsodic and ironic, caustic and incantatory. The pre-Socratic mathematician Zeno facing the riddle of an ordinary day; a cloudbank of silence; a pair of second-hand shoes bought for Anne Frank; two  crows at play above the peak of a mountain; a dot flickering on the horizon: intimate and philosophical, these poems unveil the metamorphic properties of mind and nature.

About the Author

Phillis Levin is the author of four other poetry collections, Temples and Fields, The Afterimage, Mercury, and May Day, and editor of The Penguin Book of the Sonnet. She has received the Poetry Society of America's Norma Farber First Book Award, a Fulbright Scholar Award, the Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship, a Bogliasco Fellowship, and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Widely anthologized, her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, Paris Review, The Atlantic, Poetry London, Southwest Review, Yale Review, Agni, Kenyon Review, and The Best American Poetry. She teaches at Hofstra University and resides in New York.

Praise For…

Praise for Mr. Memory & Other Poems

“Phillis Levin’s own signature is in some lines in a poem about a lost soul in the first grade, named Victor, where she says ‘I / Could be everywhere at once, inhabit / Any mind, occupy any pair of shoes.’ And she does just that in Mr. Memory, whether it is a lost scarf she is inhabiting, or ash in a fire, or the Odessa steps, or a grave in Lithuania, or a dot on the horizon, or a dead poet. The Other is not just close to her heart, it is her heart.”
 —Gerald Stern
“The poems in Mr. Memory are a fusion of keen intellect, passion, and wit. Phillis Levin has a sure grasp of the astonishing powers of the poetic line and the energy contained therein. Full of wonder and mystery, the poems in Mr. Memory transform the experience of ordinary life into something dream-like and visionary. Levin is a poet who knows  ‘…we stand undone by all / We recognize…,’ yet has the courage to embrace the shattering transformations that result.”     
—Elizabeth Spires
“I’ve always deeply admired the way Phillis Levin combines suggestiveness of statement with subtlety of feeling. Her sequence of poems in the consciousness of Zeno, the Greek philosopher, are as mordant and full of longing as Zbigniew Herbert’s Mr. Cogito. She never fans the air with some single faculty, but in every encounter in every poem the full force of all her faculties achieves a sacramental completeness of understanding.”  
—Tom Sleigh                              
Product Details
ISBN: 9780143128113
ISBN-10: 0143128116
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publication Date: March 29th, 2016
Pages: 96
Language: English
Series: Penguin Poets