Susan Hankla, Style Weekly

Maryland native Levy’s first volume of poems is a dark debut. “I want/all the lovers/I will never hold” ends her title poem. But dark has too easily entered our everyday parlance. Go to any crossword puzzle dictionary and find 62 entries for “dark” alone, but “sad” and possibly “sunless” would apply to Levy’s exquisitely crafted poems. This author has sworn no Stygian oaths. Instead, her writing is lyrical and candidly aboveground.

In her launching poem, “Telling Stories,” Levy begins: “A dancer on the roof spun into her end.” But in responding to the dancer’s tragic suicide, the author answers on the side of hope. “Once, I wanted to die,/but didn’t. And then the leaves turned in the wind/bright, so new. That can happen.” This illustration of the fragility of life is finely wrought by a master stylist.

Sometimes Levy’s poems seem like one-act plays featuring a dramatic “moon” character, a slightly eccentric woman, entirely capable of hanging blankets at the windows instead of drapes, to experience only the nights of her broken heart. She is our sister, and her poems are love’s warnings: “So we say,/we’ll be together forever /-and run to a home/and clutch each other/and try to make some love” (from “They Rush”).

In her charming poem entitled “Readings,” the speaker has a relationship with birds, listening to understand that “they’re singing beyond themselves.” Levy’s poems do, too.