Literature 9-24-2007

What Light: This Week’s Poem: Amy Levine

"What Light: This Week's Poem.” sponsored by Magers and Quinn Booksellers, brings you a poem every week by a Minnesota poet, selected by a panel of writers and publishers. Look for our anthology, “What Light,” at Magers and Quinn in Uptown or on line.

Amy Levine

Khorkum at Night

Watertown 1.

Thrust past Singer Sargent’s silver
Passersby coursing control time
Rush hour masses—Matta
Backlit police patrol

Whirl! string-instrument smokes
Devil’s dance kerchief and lip-cigarette
Egret-stance awaits Stomp
Field/march of burnished wheat

Float theater canvas bio-morphe
Organelles dot and dash
Proboscis-myth tap—Ego
Char, betrothe, plunder

Armenia 2.

Bird-neck kiss anguish eye-mask,
Bend submissive Heart
Overarches yellow pool
Negative space birth-object

Bull-saber tips pistal pink
Eject tongue-rudder Vacuole
Suspend belly-boat white
Burnt orange trumpet

Away-a circumscribe corner
Icarus bird dash down
Enflame azure helios
capsule/lady-slipper— Asunder.


I have written a series of poem cycles entitled, Erasure and Illumination, which examines visual artists’ images of war. The poem, Khorkum at Night, is a meditation on the paintings and place names of Arshile Gorky. Gorky created an abstract alphabet of his life, glyphs around which I reconstruct an imaginary landscape of exile. As with all exodus, speech is rapidly lost and gained. Language, music, painting and geography inspire this work.


Amy Levine’s poetry has been published in Mizna. She has published on psychoanalysis, contemporary art, and literary theory. She is completing a manuscript on film and philosophy, Hallucinating the Subject: Soundings from the Outside, and a play on Gorky’s life, Angelus Novus.

The Judge: Amy Levine’s poem was chosen by Eric Lorberer.