The landscapes in these poems are geographically vast: they include
the interminable Midwest prairies and its small towns, stretches of
California, and the cages and prickly countrysides of Spain. There
are also vaster, nameless landscapes, most of them in the mind.
Real or imaginary, all are haunted by desolation and Junk ("a
speedometer that glows and always reads O"), or by mind-destroying
labor and poverty, by dys-function of all sorts. Most of all, they
are haunted by people who have been twisted by, or almost changed
into, the mechanical debris that shapes our lives. This nightmare
world of alienation is partly Jewish, a heritage of non-belonging
which ranges from the poet's son's first day in a Gentile-American
kindergarten, to encompass all tourists, Negroes, freaks, strangers
in strange lands. It is also specifically American: a hallucinatory
world in which men, machines, place-names, and bitter dreams trap
and become each other, in metamorphoses made more terrible by a
heightened awareness. Many of these meanings are not clearly
expressed; but the poetry has a subterranean, emotional power.
A compelling second collection of poetry. "Not This Pigs shows
Levine] to be a poet of growing power and strangeness. In most of
his poems Levine sketches in an apparently concrete experience, but
he blurs the edges so that the reader is propelled into the realms
of mystery."-Judson Jerome, Saturday Review ."one of the best books
of poetry to come out of the sixties.his perspective is usually so
healthy and so complete that I have come back to the poems again
and again."-James McMichael, The Southern Review
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