Artifice in the Calm Damages, by Andrew Levy
Chapbook / Letterpress Covers with original cover painting by Cynthia Miller
Poetry / ISBN 9781946104076 / 32 pages / $20
To purchase Artifice in the Calm Damages please visit the book's product page.
Andrew Levy remains convinced that poets have to think dangerously and let themselves be kidnapped by contemporary hyper-complexities: they must embrace and forsake our present humanist and nationalist world for a wider horizon at once ecological, local, and global. Levy’s philosophical style strikes a balance between the innovative academicism of a scholarly poet and a certain sense of anti-academicism (witness his ongoing interest in the ideas of Bill Reading and George Lewis). Disturbing, musical, poetic, anarchic, and punctuated by improvisational bursts of syncopated incompleteness, Artifice in the Calm Damages is tempered by a Bohmian aesthetic powerfully evocative of the lost and desperate side streets and tweets of American life. Imagine Dorn’s Slinger, dead and missing, walking the highways and low-ways in search of Mar-a-Lago only to find no one on the premises but Ramon Hernandez. The humor is dry, dark, and, landing on the wrong note, conveys a heartfelt rage. Levy’s book is a remarkable study in verse and prose of the depravity and diseased charisma infecting “America First.” It’s a keeper.
Artifice in the Calm Damages has been produced as a hybrid book arts edition. The text of the book is printed via digital technology, while the cover, on yellow Samuel French paper with French flaps extending the width of the book, has been printed letterpress on a Vandercook 215T Press and hand painted by the visual artist Cynthia Miller, so that each copy of the book is a unique copy.
from the book:
At some point, Browne said, the suspect then pulled out a barbecue-style lighter,
used it to ignite a rag in a bottle and then waited for a few seconds before using the flames
to set her afire, causing smoke to fill the elevator.
The man backed out as she fell to the floor of the elevator, Browne said, and seemed
to pause before tossing the bottle inside the elevator and onto her.
Is it normal to grab a boy’s genitals?
Early this morning, the last of our troops left Iraq.
As we honor and reflect on the sacrifices that millions of men and women made for this war,
I wanted to make sure you heard the news.
Bringing this war to a responsible end was a cause that sparked many Americans to get involved
in the political process for the first time. Today's outcome is a reminder that we all have a stake
in our country's future, and a say in the direction we choose.
Sandusky: I don’t know.
Andrew Levy is the author most recently of Don’t Forget to Breathe (Chax Press), Nothing Is In Here (EOAGH Books), and Cracking Up (Truck Books), along with eleven other titles of poetry and prose including, The Big Melt (Factory School), Paper Head Last Lyrics (Roof Books), Ashoka (Zasterle), and Values Chauffeur You (O Books). Artifice in the Calm Damages is forthcoming in 2016. Levy’s poems and essays have appeared in numerous American and international magazines and anthologies including The Art of Practice: 45 Contemporary Poets, The Gertrude Stein Awards in Innovative American Poetry, and Telling It Slant: Avant-Garde Poetics of the 1990s. He was co-editor and publisher of the poetry journal Crayon with Roberto Harrison, 1997-2008. In addition, he fosters collaborations with musicians and writers on improvisatory poetry readings and performances, and he plays R&B and Jazz drums. A southerner and Hoosier by birth and sensibility, Levy lives in New York City where he teaches critical thinking, journalism, and literature at BMCC-CUNY.