Larry Levis Poems

Larry Levis, a distinguished American poet, is renowned for his poignant exploration of existential themes in his poems. Born in 1946, Levis penned five collections of poetry, each characterized by profound introspection, evocative imagery, and rich narrative.

His works, including ‘The Woven Tale,’ ‘Elegy,’ and ‘The Darkening Trapeze,’ often grapple with notions of time, loss, and love, leaving readers engaged and reflective.

Levis’ profound literary impact resonates in contemporary poetry, offering insightful perspectives on the human condition.

Childhood Ideogram

by Larry Levis

‘Childhood Ideogram’ by Larry Levis immerses readers in a nostalgic journey, where vivid imagery and contemplative reflections unravel the complexities of identity, memory, and the transient nature of time.

This poem is a good representation of Larry Levis' style and themes in his poetry. Larry Levis was known for his introspective and evocative writing, often exploring themes of memory, loss, and the complexities of human experience. 'Childhood Ideogram' encapsulates these elements as it delves into the speaker's reflections on their past, their yearning for understanding, and the lasting impact of childhood experiences. This poem showcases Levis's ability to create vivid imagery and evoke emotions through his words.

I lay my head sideways on the desk,

My fingers interlocked under my cheekbones,

My eyes closed. It was a three-room schoolhouse,

White, with a small bell tower, an oak tree

Winter Stars

by Larry Levis

‘Winter Stars’ by Larry Levis tries to reconcile the estranged relationship between a son and their dying father.

This poem from Larry Levis is exemplary of his use of images and surrealist figurative language. Focusing on two distinct memories (the story of their father and the winter stars) he shapes an impactful commentary on the bittersweetness of family.

My father once broke a man’s hand

Over the exhaust pipe of a John Deere tractor. The man,

Rubén Vásquez, wanted to kill his own father

With a sharpened fruit knife, & he held

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