As Eve concluded: Innocence isn’t everything…

“I write because I have something to say, and it must come out,” says poet Linda Levitz. In Creatures Who Smell the Wind, her fourth poetry collection, she starts from the inside. She’s inside a room, inside a house, inside childhood memories and watching from a window. As the book progresses to Part Two, she opens the door and steps outside: to the seashore, to the garden, to the forces of growth and change in nature, and the skywheel of the seasons. Then, in Part Three, the poet delves under the surface of what we see: under the house, under the earth, underneath ourselves. She explores secrets, excuses, and evasions. She acknowledges the lurking of death, which is the underface of life. But the book ends in optimism, affirming that all continues.

Linda Levitz writes of danger (of knives, of boiling water) and attraction (to honey, to the insides of flowers). Food is important: oysters, mushrooms, roots. Family is also an important theme, with dreamlike childhood recollections and collected lore, the presence of the past (parents, grandparents), and the recurring appearance of her lively granddaughter, Ella. These poems draw on culture, too: myths (selkies), Americana (Fiesta ware), Native American lore, not to mention painters (Hopper, Cross, Hiroshige, Hokusai) and a number of poets and writers.

These poems reveal an observant eye, a fertile imagination, and the poet’s strong love of language. She has a wry wisdom, noting Eve’s conclusion that innocence isn’t everything. Linda Levitz writes skillfully in free verse, and her more structured poems, the villanelles and pantoums, are solid and strong. This is a collection that rewards the reader, again and again.

Linda Levitz lives and writes in Ardsley, New York, where she also works in the Special Education department of the local elementary school. She has worked for the French Embassy Cultural Services, and was the New York editor of French News, a magazine about French-American cultural exchanges. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals. She is the author of three previous collections, Trusting the Stones, The Dark Face of Planting, and Directions to My House.

Creatures Who Smell the Wind
by Linda Levitz
ISBN 978-1-56474-521-7
104 pages, paperback, $14.00

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