Reviews


From stone this running:

Through Hinge Theory's emphasis on language's cellular nature and each poem's associative leaps, Levinson reminds us that language is rooted in the body and that it ultimately represents that body in social discourse. Relentlessly questioning how we place our words side-by-side, Levinson is causing us to wonder about the way our relationships are structured. It's a sexy politic seeking to change the space we situate our lives in, one rarely pursued since the days of Arthur Rimbaud and Aime Cesaire.
Jared Demick


There is a generosity of spirit at the core of Heller Levinson's poetry that urges a science of convergence and passion. Words smelt, melt, unite and explode. Fuse, flow, flirt and flip. This is anti-poetry at its best. Petruchio on steroids. Heisenberg at the bowling alleys. Wild in its discipline and certain of its uncertainty.
John Olson


... Levinson's ongoing literary exploration is exciting, dynamic, and singularly poised to overthrow the current, worn-out techniques for the composition of poetry. No more dead poetry... a Hinge Universe.
Michael Annis



Toxicity: Poems of the Coconut Vulva
Heller Levinson
Howling Dog Press, 2005
$14.95


“A note is chambered / cells of the sea sponge disassemble and reassemble,” writes Heller Levinson in his exciting new collection, Toxicity: Poems of the Coconut Vulva.   And the “notes” Levinson gives us are indeed “chambered,” many-chambered, in fact, as they disfigure and reconfigure our commonplace dailies of speech into a linguistic exploration that names the limits of, and in the process reconstitutes, an inherited language hamstrung with the “toxicity” of cultural inscriptions that threaten the primordial impulse to create reality, continually anew.

Following in one aspect of the Surrealist tradition—namely, the disfigurements of inherited speech and the discursive explosion to reconstitute them—Levinson presents a richly-textured vision of reality that includes the resuscitating formulae of an anciently-new spiritual “word magic” within the constraints of linguistically-toxic culture.  One might call his method of deconstructing language, “expert exotic lingerie / disrobements,” a phrase from the close of one of the sections of a core poem, “Because You Wanted a Wedding Ring.”  This poem—emblematic of larger concerns throughout the collection—gives us new evolutionary formulations that move past dichotomy, spiritually and bodily, sacred and profane (“no matter how many skin sheds required / what diamond conspiracies / what refractive rebellions / what bonic sooms of chrome exhaust pipe singularity”) that ultimately allow the tongue to talk itself back to spiritual renewal (“to coil back to serpent rock / curling in the tranquil moss of quieting tongues”).

Such concerns surface for Levinson not only in plants and rocks, but also in the culture’s wasp of capitalistic creed, that is—as he tells us—in “Tartar Control Listerine,” in cupboards of “Shasta,” in “freeways of product & Plato’s REPUBLIC,” as he catalogs ironically in his poem “99 Cent,” “revealing the Just & Happy / man the harmonious operation of the elements.”  For Levinson, linguistic redemption is found in the liminal space between culture and our primordial selves, epitomized in a poem near the collection’s close, “Wolf Again” (“I am a wolf was a wolf / am a man to be a wolf / again / paw to foot to hand / on all fours”) where, through the spiritual necessity of linguistic renewal, transformation ensues and the “whole unit body” becomes “tight muscular / spine fluid / through the woods branch / to branch.”

Toxicity: Poems of the Coconut Vulva is an exciting debut collection with a big breath-of-a-reach.  It threatens to birth itself from itself, continuously, as might the threads of milk-tones in the language shreds of what could possibly be speech.  I am sure we will hear more from Heller Levinson for some time to come.
George Kalamaras  




The poetry in Heller Levinson’s ToxiCity: Poems of the Coconut Vulva is a poetry of evocation with little explanation and no emotional bullying. The poems arerich in sentiment yet never spoiled by sentimentality,they invite you in but don’t boss you around. Whileprimarily non-narrative, they often display adiscernible emotional through-line, a felt thematicplot of sorts. His associations call up images whichbuild on one another and take you on a journey withoutdemanding or cajoling you to feel any particular way about it.

There was a little dust-up in the literary wing of theblogosphere a while back (maybe it’s still going on, I don’t keep up much) caused by a statement PoetLaureate Ted Kooser made about his belief that poet sought to (or, at least, he himself prefers to) write poems that “regular folks” can understand. My own taste is fairly broad. There are quite a few “plainspoken, everyday-folks-friendly” poets I admire, Kooser among them, but I tend to think young poets, inaddition to being taught what poetry has been so far, ought to be encouraged to push themselves to explore the broader possibilities of language yet to be discovered, rather than merely becoming polished practitioners at what’s already understood as poetry. Are there highly honored physicists out there suggesting that physicists ought to do physics that “regular folks” can understand? 

Reminds me of a Bill Hicks routine from Philosophy:the Best of Bill Hicks in which Mr. Hicks, the great under-appreciated comic, finds himself, while on a tour through the south, in a pancake house and is asked by the waitress, “What are you reading for?” Not what are you reading, but what are you reading for. And then the trucker in the next booth stands, walksover and says, “Well, well, well... looks like we’ve got ourselves a reader here.” So I guess what I’m saying is just how “regular” is regular? Certainly the oddball act of reading anything at all, never mind poetry, is enough to get one pushed out of “regular folks” status in many places. Although I’m way toolowdown a character to get elitist and anti-populist, I don’t think poetry ought to try and emulate pop music. I don’t see much value in an easy reading corollary to “easy listening.” At any rate, the poetry in ToxiCity falls squarelyinto the “not for regular folks” camp. Heller Levinson is a poet for people who actually give a damn enough about poetry to invest a little time and energy. He is doing what he is doing and it is for who it is for. You’re welcome to come in, but don’t expect anyone to hold the door and carry your lazy ass across the threshold for you. There’s no tour guide inside to hold your hand and lead you along. There’s no headset narration to explain why you should give a damn about the strange paintings on the walls or to tell you what to think of them. You’re on your own, and if you can’t handle yourself inside, don’t let the door hit your ass on the way back out to Infotainment Land.


Here is a little bit of  “Coconut Vulva” the first poem in the collection:                       

FROM ERUPT                   the knees out-belching

                                     vulva gape coconut tribe-winding

            your strawberry-muffler breasts porcine valve

distribution coiffed

                    enzyme wash

            what can I seize from your cunt

            what gray matter what tangos on Jupiter cocoons in

chromium

            will the coconut pop  dangling my mother’s head in a

noose

            or crow beaks gush (smoothblackpebblejangle) contuss,

coagulate &

                   configure, shape &

            dissolve, movement spurs, ... siesta a-ngle....



I found myself thinking of William Burroughs when I first read “Coconut Vulva,” of how alien Naked Lunch(as well as Nova Express and others) seemed upon firstreading and how at home I felt in the text, how muchsense it all made the second and third times through,how much inherent, if seemingly arbitrarily arrivedat, thematic structure it displayed once I’dacclimated myself to the text and the world itpresented. So I had a little aha! moment later when Icame across the following passage from “Because YouWanted a Wedding Ring” on page 66 and saw how close Levinson’s take on language is to Burroughs’:

            Bowers courtyard I advise Mary Ritchie Key           
that language preceded man           
that it existed in rock in the earliest formation of our planet           
-- remember how Alfred Wegener was ridiculed, I advise furtheris thinking hard...            I don’t dismiss it, she says,           
just don’t tell anyone you thought it.
purposes           
hundreds of feet in the air           
without soil or water....

(Dr. Mary Ritchie Key, according to the notes in ToxiCity’s back pages, is Emeritus Professor of Linguistics at University of California, Irvine and proposes in an article “that the semantic network can be mapped through languages that are related, in muchthe same way that phonological patterns can be mappedamong languages that are related.”) As with Burroughs’ contention that language is a virus using us for its own means, here we have humans as the tools of language, the product of language, which created us for its own purposes, rather than, as“regular folks” might assume, language as a tool of man. That led to my thinking about a passage from theUpanishads that’s stayed with me since reading it long ago that goes something like: “A rock is life that sleeps, a plant is life that feels, an animal is life that knows, and a man is life that knows it knows.” As some clever someone once said, human consciousness is the universe regarding itself. The deeper into the heart of things our gaze penetrates, the more we knowand understand, the further from human centrality and specialness we get. The heavens no longer revolve around the earth. In the beginning was the Word, indeed. 
Which got me thinking about a presentation Quantum Physicist, Unified Field Theory proponent, peaceactivist, Natural Law Party Presidential Candidate, and Transcendental Meditator, John Hagelin gave at theDavid Lynch Weekend at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield Iowa awhile back. Hagelin said that (and I paraphrase to the best of my ability) from a quantum perspective all stuff is consciousness, all matter is thought, the universal field itself is pure consciousness from which all the stuff of the universe (the universe itself  [the universes themselves] infact) bubbled up out of. One thing I absolutely hate is when a reviewer uses the excuse of a review to yammer on and on about his/her own damn thoughts and veers away from describing for his/her readers the work she/he ostensibly set out to review so, as much as I love to swim far out over my head, I’ll dog paddle back to the shore, continue with the review proper, and do my best to restrain myself from excessive digression from here on out. Ahem. But, as the above meanderings ought to make clear, Heller Levinson’s ToxiCity: Poems of the Coconut Vulva, got me thinking in directions a poet more concerned with writing poems “regular folks” would understand might not have. One favorite for me, so far, is the long poem “Alameda Street” with its echoes of Whitman’s incantatory celebrations of the everyday world of work of the “regular folks” in the Manhattan of his day, of Sandburg’s big shouldered Chicago, meatpacker to the world, of Williams’ Paterson and most especially Hart Crane’s “Brooklyn Bridge.” 

Here’s a taste of “Alameda Street:”            

horde derivatives miles of dinosaur-snot-haze                        great mouth of the unbathed             blessed above Santa Fe, Central, & Soto            superior in standing            pocked & grainy with character            moldy, blotched with commitment            bruise of axle-buck train criss-crosser            nursing workers, trade, salesmen paroxysmic withmission            massive with weight & sweat grumping & belching....I say “Alameda Street” is one of my favorites so faras there are poems I’ve read but haven’t entirelyfound my way into yet. ToxiCity is that sort ofcollection, there are poems which grab ahold of youfairly quickly and those with more secrets which winkand mutter innuendoes but aren’t going to give you thewhole story until you spend some time with them. Isuspect, as with the poems of Hart Crane, Dylan Thomasand Wallace Stevens, it’ll be some of those thatappeared more standoffish initially that’ll wind upthe favorites I go back to most often for anotherread. Music plays a large role throughout the book. The poem“At Risk” got me to say “hell yeah, Albert Collins!”and put a couple of long neglected LPs back intocirculation on the turntable. Thanks for the reminder,Mr. Levinson.


There is a series of poems inspired by the banjo and a poem entitled “Canto for Six StringGuitar.” 

Here’s the start of
“Isaac Stern Thursday April 23, 1998 8:00:”           

to center stage                     
-- a retraction unperceived --           
stooped in semi-squat he faces the audience           
nods                
-- skull hacked shaped assembled [the basis ofmastery is retrieval]                   
through asteroidal loops of history --           
first hearing Segovia then in his 70s --                      
masterful, commanding -                       
hacking coughs, programs rustling, conversational                
exchanges --           
until he heard the proper conditions for hearing....


And here’s a snatch from “Epistrophy for T. Monk:”              

peripheries riff the mad notes cyclones              
flush curling cuniculi mucid caves jettison spills              
of color mutation migration never before              
heard harmonic swoops triads.....

“The American poetry workshop has churned out legions of poets writing narrative, anemic poems, free fromany moral conflicts or nakedness; poetry with aclarity bordering on idiocy, as Breton would say.” So begins Anthony Seidman’s Introduction to ToxiCity. Hethen reflects on the many now revered poets who wereunder-appreciated, overlooked or completely ignored intheir own time while some who’ve been forgotten were the big names of their day. “With this collection inhand,” Seidman writes later in the piece, “the reader has the opportunity to NOT ignore or be uninformed about a new and innovative voice.” Amen that. Get a hold of ToxiCity and discover the work of Heller Levinson.
Steve Potter



Readers of James Heller Levinson's chapbooks, "Pulled
Apart" (Third Rung Press, 1989) and "Alameda Street"
(Implodal Press, 2000) will have done their homework
for this handsomely produced new book from the Howling
Dog Press, which incorporates some of the first and
all of the second of his previous books, plus a great
deal else.  In the process, the author's "James" has
disappeared, and we are left with "Heller," which
might strike the reader as exactly right in the
circumstances: these poems do indeed raise hell, with
no apologies.

"Alameda Street" now one of the central features of
this new volume, is a significant focus; if you've
spent time on the real-life Alameda Street, you'll
recognize the babble and Babel of that lively world,
faithfully recorded here in Levinson's long poem.
There's brawl and confusion aplenty, and also history
and geology and war and commerce and biology and
religions aplenty, all blazoned forth in language
explosive and expressive:

the snort the sweating symphony of froth-dripping
lather
silver ferrules hopscotching whip-stocks
refrains of harness buckles & ivory ring
hides soaked  from robust locomotion
glints in a glistening flash choreography
--Rhapsodic Bath!

The unremitting roll of apocalyptic language continues
throughout the book, from the familiar if bewildering
to the very exotic, as in "Mongolian Eagle's Ascent,"
a fierce account of Kazakhs hunting with golden
eagles, spoken not by the falconer but by the bird
itself:

"my talon tips pouring thousands of pounds
of pressure per square inch -- hares, mice --, snake
--
this manicured death quash lifts
permits my aerial dives & dips partnered
by ancient scrolls unribboning encrypted simoom
davenings
the flipping cornerstones of the igneous mute
--contra-horizon decibels
lute clouds
strum precipitations.

Surprises erupt at every turn.  Here is a "Crow" that
Ted Hughes would be amazed at, evoking Archaeopteryx,
invoking a curse on the thousands of bird-fatal
transmission towers, "flanking in the syrup of a
voodoo nation / these flagging contagion wings."
Here are the vast repercussions of "Because You Wanted
a Wedding Ring:

I labor to suck the time our of time
to disclose the virgin vacuum
yet
the stone sings
and I should search
(as in an intense pubic investigation)
spread the earth
dig into parts unfamiliar
fish alluvial stream beds
seek kimberlite in the Orange River
of south Africa,
lamprolite in Australia, pick axe peridotite
in Botswana, Russia, and Arkansas,
ever fearful of dissatisfying
of not going the full distance

Others of these steamroller poems, as in "Cell Phone
Fantasia," give us the stark frisson of recalling

The on-ramp merging onto the Harbor Freeway from the
Golden State:
the windows of all the cars are up --
cell phones plastered to every ear --
M-1A1 Abrams tanks infiltrate
holocaustically
laser rumble the inner auricular chambers

There is a kaleidoscopic rush to every turn of the
page here, the world flashing before our dazzled eyes,
bewildering, disorienting, and yet in a way reassuring
as the poet steps back from his canvas and reveals the
bits and pieces of our disintegrating world, yet
informing us by sly indirection that we retain the
capacity for identifying, for summing-up, for judging,
for making an internal sense of this external jumble
that is our life, our times, our fate.  This is a book
that makes you wish the poet -- a "Wolf Again" on
Venice Beach or the I-10 -- were speaking it all to
you himself, his authentic howl verifying each
revelation.

Meanwhile, one could do worse than to try for oneself.
The book is brand new, and available
Philip Appleman




Philosophy and the Coconut Vulva: Becoming-animal in Heller Levinson’s ToxiCity.

Heller Levinson’s ToxiCity: Poems of the Coconut Vulva first came into view for me in connection with two other items: first, Gilles Deleuze’s Abécédaire, the 8-hr filmed interview with Claire Parnet recorded in 1989 (for which I finally located the right “multi-zone” DVD player) and, secondly,  the “Dossier on De Man” in the most recent issue of boundary 2 (Fall 2005)—specifically, the text of Lindsay Waters’s 2003 address to members of the MLA on the twentieth anniversary of De Man’s death (“Is now the time for Paul de Man?”). If it had not been for this odd conjunction, I’d have nothing to add to the comments on the back of the book by John Olson, Philip Appleman and Will Alexander, or to the introduction by Anthony Seidman—all of whom, of course, do justice to the “richness,” “wildness,” “inner tensions and stratospheric glissandos,” “balletic correspondences,” “apocalyptic language,” “Alien Sensibility,” “imagined radiance and fervour” of Mr. Levinson’s poems. But it was by putting myself in the position of someone who might check this book out, leaf through it, read a few poems and come to a quick assessment of its place in the grid of current American poetic production, that it occurred to me that it (the book) already knew what I was doing, and didn’t give a flying fuck (“yes/ gardens of internal telepathic intercourses/ intimacy explosions/ fully fugivorous  fanciful & / Fucky,” p.113).

No doubt, Levinson re-hashes the energies that came to the fore with Surrealism in the years between the two World Wars. Similarly, it might be observed that Levinson’s work bears a certain resemblance to Will Alexander’s – although in this respect a useful analogy might be the comparable sound of Gato Barbieri and Pharoah Sanders (cf. Don Cherry’s Complete Communion and Where is Brooklyn). But what strikes me as unusual about the surreally re-hashed and derivative qualities of Levinson’s poems is the sheer energy and exuberance with which they are delivered, as if the task at hand were to push Surrealism back to its revolutionary origins in Dada (“asplash in a resounding calculus prophesying transformation,” p.23)—a task which can be seen as coinciding with the desire to rediscover the original movement subsequently captured, confined and controlled within a school, following the distinction between Surrealism and Dada drawn by Deleuze (“P -  as in Professor”). While Seidman, in his introduction to this volume, is right to underscore the iconoclastic quality of Levinson’s response to the “anemic,” “idiotic” products of the ubiquitous, American Creative Writing “workshop,” what makes Levinson’s poetry politically useful is the joyful insistence with which it reminds us that the schools within the schools are symptomatic expressions of a larger “ToxiCity,” about which (in which) we are all hard-pressed to be joyful.

Without delving into the complex and wrenching case of DeMan per se, I think that the dossier on DeMan in boundary 2 offers a valuable insight into the larger academic context where something like the discipline of Creative Writing—against which Levinson’s work would seem to pit itself (“to derail the pompous professors with their hobblings/ their leashed and spermless chalk,” p. 62)—has grown and evolved since, say, DeMan’s death in 1983. Lindsay Waters, in his MLA address, describes an academic environment  in which the prevailing mindset regarding literary studies is one that has come to view modernist monuments of literary experimentation (Pound, Eliot, Yeats, Heidegger) with increasing suspicion, and that has as its project to “put a lid on such behavior,” to “call an end to the wildness,” on the grounds that “there are no alternatives to the ways things are.” The interesting and pertinent term that Waters borrows (from Christian Thorne) to designate this normalizing mindset and the tradition to which it belongs is “authoritarian pragmatism,” and it seems safe to assume that it is as much at issue in the current plight that Waters, speaking for himself and his academic colleagues, describes as “causing us to fail to use our talent,” as it is the target of a poem like “Run the Enterprise Futures:”


SKIRMISH dressed hirsute unction

                                    spried to inoculum

                                    turnstiling lagoon oligarchies

                                    liveried in macrocytic anthem

                        homogeneous home

                        windows glass vertical

                        peremptoried by trophy walls

                        allegiances for sale

                        the anemochorous

                        forfeit

                                                                                                                       

The point is not that Levinson, in reaction to the “authoritarian pragmatism” of a governing cultural paradigm, is somehow exempt from “the failure to use his talent,” because of some privileged strategic position or insight that he may have. Rather, the joy in his work, the sense of fun that it exudes, the mockery and ridicule in which it delights, seem to occur at the edge of a chasm in which it is the United States itself that is failing to use its talent(s), especially as that talent is manifest in the contemporary world of American poetry. We are told by the teachers and advocates of poetry, again and again, how poetry in this country has been booming, thriving as nowhere else in the world, and yet over the past twenty five years this profusion of talent and accomplishment continues to stand by, while State and War Machines that lay claim to the planet, under the aegis of Reagonomics and the War on Terror, make a mockery of poetry’s counter-claim to social and political leverage. What the success of American poetry and its schools would seem to point to is an exceptionally efficient American economy that transcends politics, and that has produced and continues to sustain a “globalized” leisure class in which something like poetry can proliferate and circulate for the enjoyment of those so inclined.

The truth is that, by and large, American poetry’s desire to be socially and politically useful refuses to subside. Since Reagan—when the door closed—that same creative, poetic talent wants results that it’s failing to achieve, regardless of the school you’re in, or not in. What I like about these poems by Levinson, poems for maddening times, is the underlying, rhizomatic proposition that they seem to advance: namely, that joy (“fitloads/ of uncontrived gaiety,” p. 125),  philosophically speaking—as articulated, say, by Deleuze, via Spinoza and Nietzsche—is a political stance too easily forgotten in the necessary stretch between revolutionary dislocations (“when the children books close ’cross the attics of the land blows,” p.12). During this turn-of-the-millenium stretch, when we behold the hilariously stupid spectacle of the American Emperor’s new clothes,  Levinson casts a philosopher’s eye upon the swing of history’s pendulum—and to what it may mean for the American poetic landscape.           

I find Levinson’s poems of the “Coconut Vulva” philosophically consistent with a Deleuzian matrix (a good resumé by Charles Stivale of the Abécédaire, or ABC Primary, can be found on the Web) . By this I mean that I appreciate their joy and hopefulness, while identifying with the riotous, outlandish resistance that they propose. Resistance, for Deleuze, describes what art does: it’s a word which he connects to the related concepts of “becoming-animal,” and/or “becoming-revolutionary” and/or “becoming minoritarian” (cf. esp. “A - as in Animal,” G - as in Gauche” (i.e. Left-Wing),  “J - as in Joy,”R -  as in Resistance”).  Deleuze speaks of a writing that wants to liberate life from the toxic enclosures that humans have created—a writing for, on behalf of the animal, writing that writes what animals can’t, that pushes language to the limit of the cry or the chant, at the threshold of silence (Levinson: “where retrolingual scream formations/ lose all resolve,” p.31). I can’t help but take note of the extraordinary proliferation of animal references found across the pages of Levinson’s book: porcine valve distribution… Jupiter cocoons… crow beaks… whippy iguanas… sweet chameleon… jaguar... dog and chewed cat tail… scent animals… dinosaur-snot-haze… vibrating rhinoceros tusks...  beasts…  fish smiles… canary throat… fly buzzardry… ants...   solar scorpions… sphinxes… mechanical guppies… like an animal after feeding… crocodile teeth… lice-ash… maggots… carbon dioxide serpents…bulls & bears… styracosaurus… feather… fleece… talon tips… hares...  coyote… Falconiform ancestry… tarantulas… wasp-eyed/ distempered Rottweilers   Lutheran diamondbacks… encephalitic wings… white horses… African red billed quelea… pinyon jay…locust storm… lycanthropic/anticipational/ heaves...  archaeopteryx... larval deposits… sky trout… mermaid wake..., etc.  In this (philosophical) respect, the poems “Mongolian Eagle’s Ascent” (“delivering to them/ a carcass/ while for myself/ I  reserve/ a scrupulously articulated / soar”),  “Crow” (“Crow/ Black Vowel on the green lawn of semantic inquisition”),  and “Wolf Again” (“I am a wolf was a wolf”) could be thought of as the signature pieces in this volume.

As handsomely illustrated (by Margo Kren) and produced (by Howling Dog Press) as this book is, and for all its joyful resistance to the spirit of “authoritarian pragmatism,” it also has the courage to fold up and disappear—to project itself on a line of flight toward the ash heap of history, if that means defending against the message that says: what’s here is here to stay; the pendulum doesn’t swing; the life force has no force. Olson put it this way: “When the attentions change/ the jungle leaps in.” If you’re already enjoying the jungle, or if you’re free and unafraid to enjoy its coming—established as you may be, for now, in a school—these poems are food for nomadic thought, recommended for your health
Spear's Review



Smelling Mary
Heller Levinson
Howling Dog Press, 2008

"Heller Levinson's Smelling Mary is a fantastic book -- poem sequences that reverberate, with hinge sections that hitch poetry to theory and beyond.  What draws me most to it, though, is the careful way the words are laid down, almost as a brick-layer would lay bricks.  The result: a larger construction, whose entire force retains the mundane significance of a single brick, or break: a breakthrough book."
Vincent Katz



“Take a line like "light analyzed as supine" and you will find delicacy of image and syllable. Take a line like "paradigmatic breakdancing" and you will find nerve and boulevard in intellectual headspin. There is a generosity of spirit at the core of Heller-Levinson's poetry that urges a science of convergence and passion. Words smelt, melt, unite and explode. Fuse, flow, flirt and flip. This is anti-poetry at its best. Petruchio on steroids. Heisenberg at the bowling lanes. Wild in its discipline and certain of its uncertainty.”
John Olson


“Heller Levinson's latest lingual swarm does far more than expand language's possibilities. Most of all it is a compelling interaction with the social. Through Hinge theory's emphasis on language's cellular nature and each poem's associative leaps, Levinson reminds us that language is rooted in the body and that it ultimately represents that body in social discourse. Relentlessly questioning how we place our words side-by-side, Levinson is causing us to wonder about the way our relationships are structured. It's a sexy politic seeking to change the space we situate our lives in, one rarely pursued since the days of Arthur Rimbaud and Aime Cesaire.”
Jared Demick