Banana Palace

Copper Canyon. Oct. 2016. 78p. ISBN 9781556595059. pap. $17. POETRY
As the multi-award-winning Levin (Sky Burial) says in her opening poem, "We had a dream// that we could smash the bars/ of matter and time and/ still be alive," a dream we've held from the time of the world's mythic Cassandras and the invention of writing to the Internet. So what's next? In a series of loose-limbed and inventive poems that have an sf feel, Levin contemplates forthcoming possibilities, worrying about "You, future person" even as she reminds us that we're inescapably faced with a present apocalypse of rising waters and a surfeit of "information about information" that leaves us out of touch. That brings her to our ongoing hunger for transcendent meaning—look at the eighth-century Mayan Lady Xoc, biting a spiked rope "so she could froth up/ the Vision Snake"—and the question of consciousness. Is it an accident of biology, the core of "self, self, self, self," an airiness "somewhere between a cellphone call and teleportation"? Can it be separated from the "meat-suits" that weigh us down? Maybe so, but finally we're embedded in this physical world: "here I'm here," says the cricket—and the final poem—repeatedly.
VERDICT Levin's meditations may sound like heavy-duty philosophizing, but actually they're bouncy, engrossing fun, occasionally too sketchy, but definitely an admirable read.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing