Renowned poet Dana Levin embraced our campus with some of her greatest works Thursday, Oct. 3, a presentation part of the ongoing Beck Lecture Series here at Denison.
From the story she told of her mother’s funeral depicted in that of a sky burial (Cathartes Aura) to the apocalyptic tale she narrates from the depths of a dark cave (At the End of My Hours), Levin spoke with a tone that drew everyone in the room in.
Levin is the author of three award-winning collections of poetry, including “In the Surgical Theatre,” “Wedding Day,” and “Sky Burial.” The basis of her writing is brought through the deaths of her closest family members. However, she has certainly turned her tragedy into triumph through the successes of her poems. She recited seven of her published poems, along with four new ones to be included in an upcoming collection of hers.
The audience was glued to each word she spoke and the energy, aside from the topic of some of her poetry, was lively. amd as was she. Her humor and wit were both remarkable. Levin spent some of her time before the program in the classrooms of aspiring writers here on campus. “I have been impressed with the students here that I have met,” she commented. “They seem curious and serious about what they’re doing in creative writing and I really like that. We did writing in class today that was great. I was really impressed.”
I myself had to let Levin know what an honor it had been to listen to her works and the impact they had on me as a writer. She replied, “I’m always delighted when an audience says, ‘After your reading, I wanted to go write’—or even ‘During your reading, I started thinking about my own work and things I’d write.’ I think that’s awesome. Writing sparks other writing.”