Academic journal article The Southern Review

Editor's Note

Academic journal article The Southern Review

Editor's Note

Article excerpt

A FEW YEARS BACK while corresponding with Anna Journey she noted that David St. John was editing a book of unpublished poems by the late Larry Levis and, given my own affection for Levis as a writer and person, asked if I would perhaps be interested in publishing some of those poems in The Southern Review. Of course I would. David sent a set of poems, which we decided to run as a suite sometime in the future, during the journal's eightieth anniversary year. In subsequent conversations with other contributors, I came across many poets who had been either mentored by Levis or influenced by his work. I was not surprised: my own admiration for Levis's work draws me to writing that echoes his style and subjects. What began as a suite of Levis poems grew into a tribute that would also include works by writers he taught or inspired or who were his friends. David suggested that Phil Levine and Peter Everwine--Levis's teachers--contribute. I am grateful for Anna's first mention of the Levis poems and for contributing one of her own poems to the feature. I am indebted to David for his continued help in contacting poets and his close, patient work fielding editorial queries from me regarding not only his poems but also Levis's and Levine's. Levine was dying from pancreatic cancer when I sent him my final queries. David, who was visiting Phil at the time, graciously offered to work with me to ensure the poems were exactly as Phil would wish them to be. Levine died on February 14.

As I've so often found, the universe at times has a way of connecting, and so does the content of an issue. By a mixture of determination and coincidence, the works herein seem well suited to one another. …

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