“A polished poet of extraordinary skill. . . . Levine is caught between wholehearted love of the world’s beauty and sorrow at its unavoidable misery and suffering.”—Library Journal
With an astonishing grasp of language and detail, Julia Levine enacts a visceral, lyric experience that slips wildly between and within tragedy and grace. In Small Disasters Seen in Sunlight, her fourth collection, Levine offers far-ranging subjects, including poems about a friend’s suicide and the poet’s own interactions with traumatized children, as well as a series of revision poems that question the imagination’s infinite possibilities for creation. In “Strolling in Late April,” a woman with dementia wanders in a park filled with springtime beauty, while in “Tahoe Wetlands,” the speaker recalls a rape at gunpoint through the merciful distance of time.
At times humorous, ironic, and even redemptive, these poems are infused with lush images of the natural and physical world. Levine’s work pries apart small places that exist within the spaces between beauty and trauma in an ordinary life. Ultimately, the poems affirm our human resilience, made possible by the presence and help of others: “carrying something of the unbearable / between us until it could be borne.”
JULIA B. LEVINE is the author of three previous poetry collections: Ditch-Tender; Ask, winner of the Tampa Review Prize for Poetry; and Practicing for Heaven, winner of the Anhinga Prize for Poetry. She was also a recipient of the Discovery/The Nation award and the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry from Nimrod. Her work has been widely published in journals such as The Southern Review, Ploughshares, and Prairie Schooner. She received her PhD in clinical psychology from the University of California, Berkeley, and works and lives in Davis, California.