BOOK REVIEW

 
Moon Pie Press
ISBN: 978-1-4675-7259-0
Publication Date: Nov. 2013
Paperback
$15.00
Pages: 67

Purchase this book at:
Moon Pie Press
 

Michele Leavitt’s poetry delivers a satisfying aesthetic.  Here the reader discovers poems with rhythm and rhyme. Formal poems interweave  contemporary themes with tragic myths of incest and infanticide.  For example, in her poem, “Personal Mythologies” the mother eats her daughter and throws away the bones, which roll in the mud collecting “twigs for tendons.”   

Her poetry is tender and brutal; wise and cultured.  These are the poems of someone who has passed through danger: threats offered by family, friends, strangers, self, alcohol, drugs and crime.  Still, there is life. 

This kind of survival leads to an intense perception of nature, reminiscent of Emily Dickinson. Take for example her poem, “Kundalini.”


Kundalini

Skin the snake abandoned
stretches on my windowsill--
a yard long end to end, a length
of willingness to die and live again

 

I kneel, all admiration,
chant my name until, too often sung,
it thins to syllables. A thousand skins
shed off the tongue.


And this exerpt from her poem, “Shift,”

Consider armadillos: provoked,
they roll up in a ball with confidence
they’ll outwait any predator; when poked,
their shells hold tight.  I, too, would hunker down


And this exerpt from her poem, “Datura.”

I choose datura from the racks of seed
And nurture them with care, although they’ll grow
Up poisonous and beautiful. I need

Their syrup-scented trumpet-blooms. Their weed-
Like vigor cures me of the winter, so
I choose datura. From the racks of seed



Michele Leavitt has mastered form and content.  It’s obvious she has experienced life.  That's a winning combination.  As a result, her poems are classic and will endure.


Reviewed by Mary Ann Sullivan
    Winter 2014