Thursday, March 24, 2011

Book Review: Sky Burial

Sky Burial is Dana Levin's latest book of poetry, chronicling the death of her mother, father and sister within a four year span of time. Her style is light but subtle, light jabs coming at unexpected points in the poem. Her form is reminiscent of Emily Dickinson, with many dashes enclosed in this slim volume.

The reader can watch the poet struggle with herself, as she tries to make sense of the tragdey that has befallen her. She speaks about it in one such poem, "In Honor of Xipe" when she says,

               "When my sister died, after my parents died;

                                                     when my sister died; '-stalking your family like a serial killer,'
                                                                  someone said;

                                                     'Death is a serial killer,' I had said, when my sister died-"

She delves into many different cultures, including Japanese, to learn about non-American ways of death and grieving. In Zozo-Ji, the poem starts off with a description of a Japanese style of mourning:

                         One cry from a lone bird over a misted river
                is the expression of grief,
                                          in Japanese. Let women
               do what they need.

Reading that poem was especially haunting, given recent events.

Dana Levin has once again delievered a book of poetry that is eloquent, amusingly wry and haunting. Her poetry is evolving and she as a poet as well.

Further reading: In The Surgical Theater and Wedding Day are her two previous collections.

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