Read Winter Stars by Larry Levis Online


Since the appearance of his first book in 1972, Larry Levis has been one of the most original and most highly praised of contemporary American poets. In Winter Stars, a book of love poems and elegies, Levis engages in a process of relentless self-interrogation about his life, about losses and acceptances.  What emerges is not merely autobiography, but a biography of the reSince the appearance of his first book in 1972, Larry Levis has been one of the most original and most highly praised of contemporary American poets. In Winter Stars, a book of love poems and elegies, Levis engages in a process of relentless self-interrogation about his life, about losses and acceptances.  What emerges is not merely autobiography, but a biography of the reader, a “representative life” of our time....

Title : Winter Stars
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780822935117
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 87 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Winter Stars Reviews

  • Allyson
    2018-10-07 09:02

    Taking a deep breath here: _____. Dear friends, I stand before you today to admit openly that I had not known Larry Levis' work until this morning. YES I claim to be a practicing poet & YES I claim to know some things about the art. But: Today, this moment, and no doubt for some time to come, I am humbled and devastated by this book, read while sitting and on my microfiber couch over the course of two hours while drinking coffee and not moving for the entire second half of the book, even to pee. I got up once to refill my cup and throw some Glenn Gould on the stereo. I grabbed my notebook and pen on my way back to the couch.One of my undergrad poetry students asked me last semester, in passing, if I had read Levis and I admitted I hadn't. She gushed about Winter Stars. I promptly borrowed it from Jeremy, who promptly borrowed it back to finish his comps, then returned it to me for extended borrowing. I did not read it until this morning.After reading the first four poems ("The Poet at Seventeen," "Adolescence," "The Cry," and "Winter Stars") I filled an entire page of my notebook with triggered memories from my childhood I could harvest for my own work. Little snaps in the head, like found synapses, all going ping ping, finally. This work is a masterpiece, and it has been wedged in a small cavity in my bookcase just watching me glide by every morning to feed the cat and feed myself and to escape without knowing it.Big, glow-worming gush-bucket of a heart I have for this book right now.The earth, for example, has often been a lie,And the wind its rumor.Together, once, they drove allThe better people away.(from "Oklahoma")

  • Antonia
    2018-10-13 16:10

    One of the best books of poetry I’ve read, one that often led me to put down the book and pick up a pen. The title poem, “Winter Stars,” is especially mesmerizing. I also love “The Cry,” in which,Then, everything slept.
The sky & the fields slept all the way to the Pacific,
And the houses slept.
The orchards blackened in their sleep,
And, outside my window, the aging Palomino slept
Standing up in the moonlight, with one rear hoof slightly cocked,
And the moonlight slept.
The white dust slept between the rows of vines,
And the quail slept perfectly, like untouched triangles.
The hawk slept alone, apart from this world. . . .
. . . And the prostitutes slept, as always,
With the small-time businessmen, their hair smelling of pomade,
Who did not dream.
Dice slept in the hands of the town’s one gambler, & outside
His window, the brown grass slept,
And beyond that, in a low stand of trees, ashes slept. . . . 
The poems are long, narrative, complex, often discursive (and I usually prefer the short and succinct), but so engaging that I hardly noticed. I was tempted to copy out many lines, but they are all more powerful in context. Instead, I’m just going to return to the beginning and read the book again. As well as his other collections. But here are just a few teasers.“The trees wearing their mysterious yellow sullennessLike party dresses.”“And vines like woodwinds twisted into shapesFor playing different kinds of silence.”“A sky that stays there, aboveAny reason for a sky.”“Style, after all, is a kind of humor,Something truly beneath contempt.”“The earth, for example, as always been a lie / and the wind its rumor.”“If there is only one world, it is this one.”

  • Reid
    2018-10-01 14:07

    I'm not a poetry reader, and not one of his poems stand out, to me, as great. But, each one is meditative. I'd like to be in his head and get out of my own head for a while. His words make me wish no one could speak, to let the world speak for itself. More accurately, I'd like to think more like him, to imbue everything with a lasting significance, and reading his poetry helps accomplish that, if only briefly.

  • Michael Roberts
    2018-10-02 11:51

    We did not know we were lights dancing on black water.

  • Sam Rasnake
    2018-10-20 12:04

    A book to read a hundred books. Amazing.

  • Robert
    2018-09-23 15:02

    Click here: []

  • TheLongWait
    2018-10-15 14:56

    Closer to 4.5. Levis's autobiographical work normally wouldn't be my cup of tea, but his phrasing is impeccable.

  • Jsavett1
    2018-10-09 16:08

    I left this collection feeling ambivalent. There are some poems here, "Adolescence," "Winter Stars," and "My Story in a Late Style of Fire" for instance, which are as good as anything I've read recently. But, and perhaps this is a very important but, I read this book after having read, in order: Garcia Lorca, Octavio Paz, Neruda, and Antonio Machado. Thus Levis, who perhaps given other precursors might feel more free and wild to me, scanned a bit tame at times and far too narrative driven for my taste. There were several poems at the end of which I wrote something like: "end three lines earlier??? Levis winds up explaining things a bit too often at his worst. At his best, we are able to love the surgical precision of his mind, twisting and turning a problem around in his hand like inspecting a jewel. He does this well in a poem like "Sensationalism" in which he makes up a possible story for a photographic image he's considering, but then reminds us that it could just as well be a story "turned into paper" only. But this is the beauty for Levis because he knows that the stories we make up on paper are more true than those which happened.

  • Jenna
    2018-10-10 11:55

    Passionate, narrative-driven poems in a discursive free-verse style. On the subject of his parents, Levis writes: "[T]heir frail bodies/...Reminded me of ravines on either side of the road,/When I ran,/And did not know why." It is this image of Levis as an 17-year-old working-class boy trying to run away from his parents and from his past that gives the first section of Winter Stars its remarkable poignancy. The book's middle section, "Let Nothing You Dismay," is rather feeble in comparison, providing an object lesson in how difficult it is to write about one's ex-lovers without seeming like a self-mythologizing egomaniac (case in point: the floridly titled poem "My Story in a Late Style of Fire," which includes the jarring lines "But all I wanted/Was to hold her all morning, until her body was, again,/A bright field.... Billie Holiday, whose life was shorter & more humiliating/Than my own, would have understood all this"). The book's final three sections, which are more externally oriented (they touch upon life in samurai-era Japan, 19th-century Italy, and World War II Romania), are more successful, fortunately.

  • Patricia Murphy
    2018-09-22 16:08

    Came back to this book today after asking a poet-friend to look at "Adolescence" as a way to think about transitions in a narrative with multiple settings. This book feels like home to me, after so many readings. Filled with marginalia. And since it's Poem Monday I drew inspiration again from some lines. Here are a few favorites:The trees wearing their mysterious yellow sullennessLike party dresses. And the quail slept perfectly, like untouched triangles.And vines like woodwinds twisted into shapesFor playing different kinds of silence.Ireland like a bonnet for the mad on top ofPlenty of ocean.A sky that stays there, aboveAny reason for a sky.My only advice is not to go awayOr, go away.I watch a warm, dry wind bothering a whole line of elmsPerhaps the ankle of a horse is holy.Style, after all, is a kind of humor,Something truly beneath contempt. the soul is a canary sent Into the mines. Turning a green that has nothingTo do with us.

  • Kyle Muntz
    2018-09-30 15:01

    One interesting thing about Levis’s project is how novel-ish it is. His themes and even on occasion his voice (because of how unbroken it is, and the sort of earthy, linear progression of his ideas) feel reminiscent to fiction of me, like if Levis didn’t write poems he would have been trying to write a Great American Novel of some sort. The themes of fatherhood, country life, and the certain kind of sexuality he fixates on give me that feel as well. Of course, I don’t LIKE Great American Novels (Levis a lot of the time feels like John Updike minus the bloat), but this was pretty decent for the most part, with a few parts that were intensely well-realized.

  • Sarah
    2018-10-06 16:05

    And for years I believed / That what went unsaid between us became empty, / And pure, like starlight, & that it persisted. I got it all wrong. / I wound up believing in words the way a scientist / Believes in carbon, after death.I like when poems seem to just talk and talk and talk without making a big deal about clever word play (or maybe it's just that I prefer prose.) Working-man poems. The more personal they are the better. I think Levis does this very well and with few mistakes (for instance, the title.)

  • Gerry LaFemina
    2018-10-21 14:44

    This may be my favorite book of poems--Levis's long, beautiful meditations made me want to write poems, and this book, starting with the poem "The Poet at 17" engages the speaker with his conversational voice, his lateral moving mind, and his attention to detail and craft--the attuned nature of his eye and ear.

  • Nicola
    2018-10-09 15:50

    So want to give this wonderful collection five stars, but compared to "Elegy" can't quite. Wonderful opening poems ('specially "The Cry"!!) and closing poems (the whole section "Sensationalism") but somewhere in the middle felt the energy (my energy?) lag a bit. Still, quite marvelous. Levis heightens the confessional into the visionary.

  • John Nelson
    2018-10-07 15:42

    I loved the title poem the first time I read it, and I still do. Some of the others in the collection are not so strong. The author frequently slips into free verse, which even if it is poetry, is very difficult to pull off, and almost no one does it successfull.

  • Danielle DeTiberus
    2018-09-30 11:00

    One of THE best books of poetry of all time. I challenge you non-poetry readers out there (I've heard there are a few) to read this and still be able to say: "I just don't get poetry." Levis at his best: accessible, hilarious, master-magician extraordinaire!

  • Oscar
    2018-10-11 10:12

    Levis maintains a tone of wonder couples with unapologetic images of violence, despair and self-awareness throughout the collection. His longer poems are very adept at creating tension while still evoking a beautiful lyricism.

  • Matt
    2018-10-16 10:05


  • Amy
    2018-10-12 11:49

    One of those life-altering books that shows you what a poetic voice is capable of conveying. "Sensationalism," the title many amazing works.

  • Helen
    2018-09-26 11:58

    Levis' poems are beautiful, well written, well crafted. But, for some reason, I just can't get into them. I think perhaps it's because his poems tend to be long, sometimes too long, for all their beauty. Also Levis chooses to put the book together chronologically, without thinking about carefully crafting a book of poems within a distinct arc. I have a hard time reading poems, especially really long poems, that don't seem able to blend into the poem after it in some way, that keeps momentum in the reader. But, a lot of that has to do with my own personal taste, and has nothing to do with the quality of the poems themselves.

  • Hannah
    2018-09-23 16:05

    Stunning. Deliberately retrospective, not quite nostalgic.

  • Aimée
    2018-10-04 15:44

    the book that sustains me.

  • Mary
    2018-09-26 13:48

    This book is amazing...a melancholy testament to life. If you are a poetry fan, this volume is a must-read!!

  • Catharine
    2018-09-23 15:02

    this is my very favorite book of all time.It is.The going to what lasts.

  • Jonathan
    2018-10-16 08:12

    always re-reading

  • Luke
    2018-10-06 08:06

    Larry Levis is one of my favorite poets. This and Elegy are his best collections in my opinion.