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Coltrane’s God, Red Mountain, 64 pp., 2015

$18.95 $15.00

Coltrane’s God, Levering’s 7th full-length collection of poems, is a departure from his recent books, which have focused on environmental and human rights issues. Instead, love of music and honor for musicians are the heart of Coltrane’s God. Among the players in his joyful tribute to the “language of emotion,” are a street busker wailing laments in the rain, a choir boy with changing voice, an itinerant fiddler, romping barrelhouse piano players, and a woman singing scat in a tram tunnel. The book is garnering praise from other writers. Dorset-prize winner Lauren Camp says that “In Coltrane’s God, the landscape of life opens though music. Even the sad is insulated with sound. These poems are intoxicated with chords and changes.”  The musician-poet Kevin Rabas, author of Bird’s Horn, writes, “Levering’s Coltrane’s God is a hip, historical collection of flatted thirds and sevenths, full of those characteristic, jazzy blue notes, poems sung as if through saxophone and smoke. Levering has an ear and eye for jazz, and what he writes here is part history, part song, following a lineage of jazz poets, including Hughes, Kerouac, Baraka, Carruth, Harper, and Mackey.”

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Coltrane’s God, Levering’s 7th full-length collection of poems, is a departure from his recent books, which have focused on environmental and human rights issues. Instead, love of music and honor for musicians are the heart of Coltrane’s God. Among the players in his joyful tribute to the “language of emotion,” are a street busker wailing laments in the rain, a choir boy with changing voice, an itinerant fiddler, romping barrelhouse piano players, and a woman singing scat in a tram tunnel. The book is garnering praise from other writers. Dorset-prize winner Lauren Camp says that “In Coltrane’s God, the landscape of life opens though music. Even the sad is insulated with sound. These poems are intoxicated with chords and changes.”  The musician-poet Kevin Rabas, author of Bird’s Horn, writes, “Levering’s Coltrane’s God is a hip, historical collection of flatted thirds and sevenths, full of those characteristic, jazzy blue notes, poems sung as if through saxophone and smoke. Levering has an ear and eye for jazz, and what he writes here is part history, part song, following a lineage of jazz poets, including Hughes, Kerouac, Baraka, Carruth, Harper, and Mackey.”