by d a levy and Kent Taylor. Kirpin Press. Editor A. Horvath. P.O. Box 2943, Vancouver, WA 98668-2943.
Book Review by Michael Basinski
This is a wonderful historical document and should act as prototype for any such publication. It is a poetry reading given in Cleveland, Ohio in 1967 by d. a. levy and Kent Taylor. The book includes a CD of that reading and the poems in the book are the poems read at that reading and in the order in which they were presented. Levy has entered the mythic. He is the epitome, the essence and the definition of the rebel poet going contrary to law and the repressive order of society and allowing his poetic voice to sing loud. You can read about levy and you can read levy’s poems. Here, you can hear levy read the works. The poems are juxtaposed fragments of mind and silences and they sound with youthful and romantic truth (and he knows it himself and comments about such in his own poetry). Yet he is political, political because he calls it: THE POWER, out on the rug. No he does not sit home in his parent’s paid for apartment and mumble among friends that yes ’ it is a horrible war in Iraq or Vietnam or Johnson this, Bush W. that, and closes the eyes. Oh Sigh. Levy was out there with his poetry-speaking tough against it: THE POWER. He wore his ethics like a flag. I like em. I like the poems. You feel the portal to the soul. But when you listen to levy you hear the young man voice, quiet and measured in truth poetry moral speaking, almost squeaking in its tiny-ness in the immense problem of repression in the world. The poems are not pornographic, dirty or even violent. The easy speaking Cleveland cadence allows one to hear the simple yet direct poetry of that era when being morally just and standing up, speaking up - when in your own voice speeching really meant speaking. AH, it is a marvelous thing we have here. And following levy is Kent Taylor again with the measured slow and clear Cleveland speaking young man voice. The immediacy of his poetry is not a roar but in the clear simplicity that Kent Taylor relates the mood of his daily writing ritual thought. Unabashedly clear and simple knife that slices the bread, butters it. He titles many of his works the day they were written, trusting his perception. And like levy it is a young man voice. Not rallying the masses for peace or revolution but speaking the direct nakedness of the heart and soul that so defined and marked that era. An era when audiences didn’t sleep in the back row or dream of Chinese food afterwards. Nope. It was believe! That poetry of the direct phone line brought together one person and then another and there was frank conversation and from that came definition and freedom. Walt Whitman said poets need good audiences. Today’s audiences are a sad and sour sack of chewed up pencils without erasers. Poets are more gymnasts than human is. Faith, ah, want faith in poetry? Listen to a few young guys. Young people poems ina church basement in Cleveland in 1967. The Draft outside, cops, crushing filth with the river pollution burning, burning. Kent Taylor and d a levy. One tiger and one tiger. Tyger tyger burning bright.