23 aug books subtexts

Poetry can be described as a fusion of songwriting and music, where there is no separation between lyrics and instrumentation. In some writers’ hands, words are guitars, violins, and pianos at once; beat, melody, and rhythm are played by syllables, and emotions thrum in the silent spaces between pieces of text. Santa Fe poet Donald Levering is such a writer: whether or not the subject matter is music, an intrinsic musicality informs almost all of his work, giving the poems in his latest book, Any Song Will Do: New and Selected Later Poems (Red Mountain Press), a vital buzz or hum that might be what New Agers would call lifeforce.

“Now listen to the noise of my heart/says my daughter by the well/in the amber light of a day/hazy with smoke,” he writes in “Forest Fire.”

Levering spent 25 years as an administrator for the New Mexico Human Services Department before retiring in 2012. He has since written several books, including Sweeping the Skylight (Finishing Line Press, 2012), and Algonquins Planted Salmon (2012) and Previous Lives (2018), from Red Mountain Press. Any Song Will Do collects and reorganizes previously published poems and new poems that have not appeared in books. Levering was seeking “new associations between the poems.”

Levering reads from and signs copies of Any Song Will Do at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 25, at op.cit. books (157 Paseo de Peralta). Admission is free. For more information, call 505-428-0321. 

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