Dec 14, 2017 - 04:11 AM  
ChicagoPoetry.com  
  Welcome to Chicago Poetry Press
CJ Laity is Mr. Chicago Poetry

Poetry Press

Go to the homepage with calendar
The Chicago Poetry News
Journal of Modern Poetry

Chicago Poetry Scene Top 135

· A Cram On WBEZ
· After Hours Press
· Anobium
· Another Chicago Magazine
· Antena
· Anti-War Poetry
· Apparatus Magazine
· AquaMoon
· Audio Party
· Barbara's Bookstore
· Beach Poets
· Big Other
· Bob Boone's Teacher's Hangout
· Book Cellar
· Book Slut
· Book Stall
· Caffeine Theatre
· Center on Halsted
· Chaotic Radio
· Chicago Amplified
· Chicago Calling
· Chicago Literary Club
· Chicago Poetry Brothel
· Chicago Poetry Club
· Chicago Poetry Project
· Chicago Poetry Neutral Zone
· Chicago Public Library
· ChicagoPublishes (City of Chicago)
· Chicago Reader
· Chicago Readers Blog
· Chicago Shakes
· Chicago Slam Works
· Chicago Writes
· College of Complexes
· Columbia College
· Columbia College Events
· Columbia Poetry Review
· Cracked Slab Books
· CRWROPPS
· Curbside Splendor
· Danny's
· Dollar Store
· Drinking and Writing
· 826 Chicago
· Encyclopedia Show
· e-poets.net
· Featherproof
· Gapers Block Book Club
· Girl Speak
· Golden Rule Jones
· Green Mill
· Guild Complex
· Gwendolyn Brooks Center
· Homolatte
· Illinois Arts Council
· Illinois Poet Laureate
· Illinois Poets Society
· In One Ear at Heartland Cafe
· JackLeg Press
· KuumbaLynx
· La Bloga
· Lake Forest College
· Lethal Poetry
· Letter eX
· Literago
· Literary Chicago
· Louder Than A Bomb
· Loyola
· LVNG
· Mango Tribe
· March/Abrazo
· Mental Graffiti
· Milk Magazine
· Muzzle
· Myopic Books
· Neighborhood Writing Alliance
· Neutron Bomb
· Newberry Library
· Next Objectivists
· Northwestern
· Northwestern Press
· NNWAC
· Oyez Review
· Paper Machete
· Parlor Reading Series
· Partner Dance Press
· PerformInk
· Poetry Center of Chicago
· Poetry Foundation
· Poetry Magazine
· PoetryPoetry
· Poets and Patrons
· Powells
· POW-WOW
· Printers Ball
· Printers Row Lit Fest
· Proyecto Latina
· Puddin'head Press
· Publish Chicago
· Quickies!
· Quimby's
· Ragdale
· Rambunctious Review
· Reading Under The Influence
· Real Talk Ave
· Rec Room
· Revolving Door
· Red Rover
· Rhino
· 2nd Story
· Series A
· Seven Corners
· Shakespeares Monkeys
· She Writes
· Silver Tongue
· Slampapi Blog
· Small Garlic Press
· Spoon River Review
· StarWallpaper
· Sunday Salon
· Sun Times Books
· Swan Isle Press
· Switchback Books
· Tallgrass Writers / Outrider Press
· The2ndHand
· Third World Press
· Tianguis Bookstore
· TimeOut Books
· TriQuarterly
· Tuesday Funk
· Twilight Tales
· U of C Poetics
· U of C Press
· U of I Press
· Underground Library
· Unscene Chicago
· Vaporacle
· Virtual Artists Collective
· Vocalo.org
· Weeds
· Weighed Words
· Woman Made Gallery
· Woman Made Gallery Audio
· Women and Children First
· Young Chicago Authors

Right Now . . .

There are 23 unregistered users and 0 registered users on-line.

You can log-in or register for a user account here.


spacer.gif
spacer.gif   NINE LIVES OF CHICAGO POETRY: LAUREN LEVATO
Posted by : cj on Sunday, September 03, 2006 - 12:52 PM
  spacer.gif
 
Chicago Poetry Reviews: Click Headlines .
Marriage Bones
by Lauren Levato
Fractal Edge Press
Reviewed by C. J. Laity


The most difficult task for the American author in this day and age is to write something honest. Part of the problem, I suppose, is the current flavor of politics. In an age during which our own country goes on the offensive warpath and delivers to its people heaps of propaganda, telling us that it is unpatriotic to dissent from that, what hope does the truth have? Even the most veteran investigative reporters have buckled under the pressure (Dan Rather for example). And even the most liberal minded people have chosen to remain silent rather than endure the hogwash style of debating delivered to us by the lemmings in the world. The truth gets muffled by a pack of well-trained shouters.

However, for the poet, the biggest threat to truth does not come from government issued censorship, but most oftentimes it comes from within our very own poetry community. Recently I was blogging on Bitchapalooza and I mentioned that I was single. Someone asked wasn't I the guy who scratches his ass and then tries to get his girlfriend to smell his fingers (a reference to a line in one of my poems). I thought it was humorous: a line from one of my sillier poems supposedly summed up my entire life as well as my ability to love. Most poets are afraid to be brutally honest, for this very reason. One local poet, who runs a poetry radio show, recently suggested that people who are "brutally honest" cherish the brutality more than they believe in the honesty. That's hogwash as we all know. Let's face it. Honesty is oftentimes brutal, and without the gamble of that brutality, the honesty does not exist. It takes courage to be brutally honest, because honesty is not designed to please people; but it takes even more courage to face that honesty without stooping to cowardly acts of denial. In a way, being in a poetry community is like being in a marriage. We too often do not critique each other's work out of fear of offending and losing a comrade or a peer. And we too often hold back in our own work, out of fear of what our neighbors will think of us.

Thankfully, in Chicago we have poets like Lauren Levato.

In Lauren Levato's new book, Marriage Bones, she is not ashamed to speak of the truth. The sixteen poems in this twenty-two-page chapbook concentrate on the theme of a marriage gone sour. I don't know Levato's history, but I get the sense she could not have created such finely captured images with all their subtleties, if she had not first lived this book. She holds nothing back in relating the emotions and internal workings of a woman caught in a state of unhappiness. By doing so, Levato creates a surrealistic experience for the reader. Suppressed desires become bones hidden under the skin. Things left unsaid become foul objects held in the mouth, to be spit but not swallowed.

Without sympathy or regret, this book touches upon the sadness and helplessness that arises when two extremely close people interpret the world differently and simply don't understand each other. Levato points out that it is not a matter of being from Venus or from Mars, but simply whether or not the pretty shoe fits the foot. Unfortunately, some of us struggle with the shoe for five or eight years before getting sick of the blisters and calluses.

Marriage Bones is an exploration of what goes wrong, and Levato seasons it with her mastery of simile and metaphor:

And so, like our marriage,
you just drive on through.


(from "Bull and Frog")

Marriage Bones is a gem in the field of feminist literature. True, there are times when the male reader will interpret some of this poetry as man bashing. For example, in the poem "Anthropomorphism: Corvine" Levato states that crows are more tender than men. And in the poem "Toro, Cielo, Sirena" these angry lines mark the conclusion:

It only takes a night to drain
all the water from the ocean
and fill it up with poison sperm.


In fact, the angriest poem of them all is the title poem:

When you die
I will keep your teeth in a bucket
on a swing on the porch
so the moonlight turns them silver
and night moths can rest there
on the fossils of your words


(from "Marriage Bones")

But this is where the virtue of honesty comes into play. This anger is something the author as the everywoman has felt, these thoughts she has thought, and she's not afraid to offend any men with her brutal honesty; indeed, it is the fear of being brutally honest, the self-censorship when things need to be said, and the resulting oppression, that stand out in this book as the very causes of the uneasiness that destroys relationships.

Between the lines of these poems, many questions are asked. At exactly what point does a secret become a lie? How can there be any understanding between two people if the fear of hurting the feelings exists like a brick wall? How can a man ever hope to understand the moods that change like the seasons, if his very reality has been fabricated in order to please him?

Anyone who has ever used a pressure cooker knows that the steam cannot be held in the pot or the stew (here, ultimately, composed of bitterness, resentment and contempt) will find itself splashed all over the walls.

Lauren Levato accomplishes the difficult task of examining human motives not by telling, but by painting with her words a debatable picture of the complexities of the relationship, and also the search for the freedom to fulfill ones desires. This is what fills Lauren Levato's work with life. The honesty in this book is a breath of fresh air.

--CJ Laity

For more information about the author, go to LaurenLevato.com.

For more information about the publisher, go to FractalEdgePress.com.

Go back to the other Nine Lives

**We hope you found the information on this page useful. ChicagoPoetry.com needs your help. We are holding a fundraising drive in order to stay online. There are two ways that you can help:
Click here to offer a financial gift or click here to order the new book by ChicagoPoetry.com Press.




Note: Here is a review of Lauren Levato's new book, Marriage Bones.

 
spacer.gif
spacer.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif
spacer.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif
BlockRTop.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif
  Poetry Contest
· Enter Our Contest
  spacer.gif
BlockRBott.gif spacer.gif spacer

spacer.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif
BlockRTop.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif
  Bookstore
Order a book
The Ultimate Chicago Poetry Anthology
JOMP
Clever Gretel by Jennifer Dotson
JOMP 15 Is Here
Postcards from Poland by Joseph Kuhn Carey
Journal of Modern Poetry 16
Vape Mania
Jomp 17
  spacer.gif
BlockRBott.gif spacer.gif spacer

spacer.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif
BlockRTop.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif
  JOMP
· Buy JOMP 18
· Buy JOMP 19
· Buy JOMP 20
  spacer.gif
BlockRBott.gif spacer.gif spacer

spacer.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif
BlockRTop.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif
  Poetry Publishing
Chicago Poetry Press publishes the highest quality poetry in beautiful, perfect bound editions. We rely on your continued support to operate, because we are not funded by any corporation, foundation, government agency or university. You can always contact
CJ Laity at Publisher@ ChicagoPoetry.com.
  spacer.gif
BlockRBott.gif spacer.gif spacer

spacer.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif
BlockRTop.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif
  eX-ceptional 150
· Acme Artworks
· Alarm
· American Perspectives
· Answer Tag Home Press
· Area Chicago
· Avant Chicago
· Bailliwik
· Beard of Bees
· Black Arts
· Blossom Bones
· Bohemian Pupil
· Borders Open Door Poetry
· Born Magazine
· Bucktown Arts Fest
· Chance Operations
· Chicago Artists Coalition
· Chicago Cultural Center
· Chicago Dramatists
· Chicago Innerview
· Chicagoist
· Chi Labor Arts Fest Blog
· Chicago Magazine
· ChicagoPoets.net
· Chicago Quarterly
· Chicago Review
· Chicago6Corners
· Chi Town Daily News
· CHIRP
· Christian Poets Society
· cinematheque
· CLTV
· Common Review
· Conscious Choice
· Contra Tiempo
· Conundrum
· Court Green
· Crab Orchard
· Cross Roads
· Curious Theatre
· Elastic Arts
· Elder Stories
· EM Press
· Empty Bottle
· F News Magazine
· Fast Geek Press
· Fence
· Fifth Wednesday
· Free Lunch
· Free Street
· Front 40
· Gapers Block
· Gargoyle
· Haiku Society
· Haymarket
· Heartland Cafe
· Hemmingway Foundation
· Highland Park Poetry
· Hotel Amerika
· Hour Glass
· Hull House
· Humanities Fest
· Hyde Park Art
· Improv Olympics
· Intersections
· In These Times
· The Ivory Tower
· JAB
· Kalamu
· Karamu
· Kedzie Press / The Green Parent
· Lake Claremont
· Lawyers For Arts
· Lisle Library
· Literary Chicago
· Literary Pizazz Radio
· Lit Line
· Links Hall
· Looptopia
· Love Chicago
· Lumpen
· Machine
· Make Magazine
· Manual of Style
· Mayapple Press
· Mayor's Office of Events
· MetroMix
· Mexican Fine Arts
· MCA
· Midland Authors
· Midwest Literary Fest
· Midwest Zines
· Milk Weed
· Millions
· Moria
· Mule
· Muse Letter
· Naperville Writers
· National Writers Union
· Nelson Algren Committee
· Neofuturists
· Nextbook
· Ninth Letter
· Old Town Folk School
· Open Book
· Osbey Books
· O Sweet Flowery Roses
· Other Voices
· Otium
· Palatine Slam
· Paper and Carriage
· Paper Mustache
· Perpetual Motion
· Plainfield Poetry
· PM Poetry
· Poem Present
· Poetic License
· Poetry Cache
· Poetry Daily
· Poetry Radio
· Poets and Writers
· Poets Kitchen
· Polvo
· Polyphony
· Pudding House
· Punk Planet
· Reconstruction Room
· Redmoon
· Roctober
· Rose Metal
· Room 315
· Rubba Ducky
· Sawbuck
· Scars Publishing
· Screwball
· Second Run
· Seminary Co-op
· Seventen Bishop
· Shark Forum
· Shelter
· Shortpants
· Skeleton News
· Small Happy
· Stop Smiling
· SOBS
· Sourcebooks
· Spareroom
· Spondee
· Stone Jones
· Story Studio
· Story Quarterly
· Street Level
· Teatro Luna
· This Is Grand
· Ticket2Write
· Time Out
· Uncommon Ground
· Unlikely Stories
· UR Chicago
· Venus
· Visions For Chicago
· Wordsfest
· Writers Workspace
· WBEZ
· WFMT
· WLUW
· WNUR
· WQNA
· You Are Beautiful
  spacer.gif
BlockRBott.gif spacer.gif spacer


Web hosting provided by TechFinesse