Dana Levin grew up in California’s Mojave Desert and earned a BA from Pitzer College and an MA from New York University. Her free-verse, image-driven poems grapple with the legacies of both Confessionalism and Language poetry by engaging and questioning the self, while using line breaks, punctuation, and syntax as primarily sound-driven tools. In a 2008 interview with the Kenyon Review, Levin noted, “for me, imagination is a transpersonal force. Its products can come unbidden; when asked to be employed it is not tame, but surprises, frustrates, stuns, and confounds.”
The father died and then the mother died.
And you were so addicted
to not feeling them, you told no one about the clamp
around the vena cava. Dam against the blood's
But I've got you now.
Levin’s collections of poetry include In the Surgical Theatre (1999), Wedding Day (2005), and Sky Burial (2011). Selecting Levin’s manuscript for the American Poetry Review/Honickman First Book Prize, Louise Glück praised the work as “sensuous, compassionate, violent, extravagant.” Her poems, such as 'Urgent Care' and 'At the End of My Hours', often break into multi-part series. In a Q&A in Poetry magazine's December 2012 issue, Levin writes, "I like sequences because I like working modularly, thinking in terms of blocks I can move around."
Urgent Care. That was pretty
multivalent. As in:
We really need you to take care of this.
We really need you
to care for this.
To care about this. We really need you
to peer through the clinic’s
storefront window, on alert
for the ballyhooed moon
(from ‘Urgent Care’)
Levin’s honors include awards and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rona Jaffe Foundation, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Witter Bynner Foundation and the Library of Congress, the Lannan Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Whiting Foundation. Her work has been widely anthologized and has won several Pushcart Prizes. She lives in Santa Fe and teaches at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design and Warren Wilson College.
Sky Burial, Copper Canyon Press, Port Townsend, WA, 2011
Wedding Day, Copper Canyon Press, Port Townsend, WA, 2005
In the Surgical Theatre: Poems, American Poetry Review, 1999
The Kenyon Review Online: “ A Conversation with Dana Levin”
Poetry magazine: “ Q&A: Dana Levin”
Poetry magazine podcast: “ You've Never Seen My Shower: Poems by Dana Levin, James Longenbach, Deborah Paredez, and Frederick Seidel” (audio)
Poets.org: “ The Surgical Theatre” (audio).