Academy of American Poets
View Cart | Log In 
Subscribe | More Info 
Find a Poet or Poem
Advanced Search >
FURTHER READING
Related Prose
In Memory of Larry Levis
by Philip Levine
External Links
"Fish"
At the L.A. Poetry Festival site.
"Toad, Hog, Assassin, Mirror"
From The Prose Poem Web Issue IV.
Larry Levis Remembered
Poems; audio; a remembrance by Randy Marshall; and information about Steve Scafidi, the 2002 Levis Prize Winner, on the Blackbird website.
Sponsor a Poet Page | Add to Notebook | Email to Friend | Print
Larry Levis
photo: Kent Miles

Larry Levis

Larry Patrick Levis was born in Fresno, California, on September 30, 1946. His father was a grape grower, and in his youth Levis drove a tractor, pruned vines, and picked grapes in Selma, California. He earned a bachelor's degree from Fresno State College (now California State University, Fresno) in 1968, a master's degree from Syracuse University in 1970, and a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in 1974.

His first book of poems, Wrecking Crew (1972), won the United States Award from the International Poetry Forum. His second book, The Afterlife (1976), was the Lamont Poetry Selection of The American Academy of Poets. In 1981, The Dollmaker's Ghost was a winner of the Open Competition of the National Poetry Series.

About Levis's work, poet Robert Mezey said, "Larry Levis writes a poetry that is full of surprises. Not the predictable and boring surprises that can be created by formula, but the nourishing shock of fresh ideas that rise from the work of the true poet."

Among his honors were a YM-YWHA Discovery Award, three fellowships in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Fulbright Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

"Levis is not interested in metaphorical equivalence," wrote poet Tony Hoagland, "in comparison as a device whose goal is logical coherence, or persuasion, or concentration; rather, his practice is to use image as a form of inquiry, as a kind of tentative, speculating finger poking into the unknown."

He taught English at the University of Missouri from 1974 to 1980, was an associate professor and directed the creative writing program at the University of Utah from 1980 to 1992, and from 1992 until his death was a professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Levis died of a heart attack in 1996, at the age of 49. His last collection, Elegy, edited by Philip Levine, was published posthumously in 1997.

A Selected Bibliography

Poetry

Wrecking Crew (1972)
The Afterlife (1977)
The Dollmaker's Ghost (1981)
Winter Stars (1985)
The Widening Spell of the Leaves (1991)
Elegy (1997)
The Selected Levis (2000)

Prose

The Gazer Within (2000)

Fiction

Black Freckles (1992)

Poems by
Larry Levis

Anastasia & Sandman
In a Country
Readings in French
The Clearing of the Land: An Epitaph
The Map
The Widening Spell of the Leaves
Those Graves in Rome

Want more poetry?
Sign up to receive our
monthly update emails.



Support independent booksellers
Make your purchase online through IndieBound or find a local bookstore on the National Poetry Map.


Larger TypeLarger Type | Home | Help | Contact Us | Privacy Policy Copyright © 1997 - 2014 by Academy of American Poets.