The Water Leveling With Us, Red Mountain, 77 pp., 2014


Donald Levering’s 12th poetry book, The Water Leveling With Us, witnesses critical dramas of our era. The impacts of climate change, militarization, and consumerism are viewed through individual experience. The poems spotlight moral dilemmas, such as the woman haunted by the foxes she raises for fur. Moments of redemption through nature offer relief; there is the prison camp escapee who gains solace among frog song, or the man who flies an ultralight to teach orphaned whooping cranes “what they didn’t know they knew.” As always, Levering’s language is rich with rhythm and assonance. Several of the poems have been published in journals such as The Alembic, The Drunken Boat, Hunger Mountain, Iron Horse, Poets For Living Waters, and Stirring. “Donald Levering takes us from ocean bottom to outer space, and from the jungles of Costa Rica to Arctic regions to the Andean heights of Chile, observing all the while the ways in which the earth’s surface and its creatures labor to survive. These poems are never didactic; rather, they are restrained and beautifully rendered. They evoke over and above the vulnerability man has imposed on nature, the vulnerability of man himself as he shares with them the shadow of extinction. Elegiac and observant, these poems illuminate the connections that inform our lives.” —Leslie Ullman, winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award and the Iowa Poetry Prize.

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