My poetry, feature journalism and literary criticism have appeared in three chapbooks and dozens of periodicals or anthologies.  For that I have many collaborators and supporters to thank, preeminently including my life partner and spouse, Nora Jean Bieler Levin.  The list of what she, my family, and my teacher-inspirers have put up with on my behalf is too long to tabulate here. 

The teachers may have been particularly tried, though in shorter bursts.  They range from an iconoclastic high-school English teacher at Philadelphia's Central High School (Dr. Gerald Hamm), through my dissertation supervisor at Oxford (Merton Professor Nevill Coghill), to family members and professional colleagues who taught me much though they did not realize they were teaching -- and who tolerated my mental absences or late-shows at meetings when I was preoccupied with other things.  Nevill Coghill has a special place for his elegant patience, for being principal witness at our marriage in England, and for offering me a post as production manager for his Doctor Faustus starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor -- an experience that resulted in my only film credit.  The poem "Stone Steps, Merton College Oxford" is part of the tribute to him here.

Most of this work was written between and around a busy professional life that included almost twenty years in federal government as an appellate lawyer, policy expert and executive with EPA and other agencies, in the Carter White House, and as Congressional Fellow and consultant to Hon. Andrew Maguire (D-NJ) and the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA). The busy part carried on through private practice at national or regional law firms.  It has declined only slightly through my current activities as an environmental / transactions lawyer and solar energy developer based in Washington DC and Menemsha (Martha’s Vineyard) MA.

I received honors degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard Law School and an M.Litt. in English Language and Literature  (concentration: theatre) from Oxford University, where I was a Penn Thouron Fellow for two years.  These credentials are less important than the opportunities they provided and the worlds they opened up.  For those, for the generosity of the Thouron family, and for feedback from the Federal Poets group and other committed readers, I remain grateful.


[Audio Link]

"Pawprints," Jazz Composition by Katrine Suwalski, Lyrics by Michael Levin  -- World Premiere, Paradise Jazz Club, Copenhagen, 9/17/14. 

Cathrine Legardh, vocals; Katrine Suwalski, sax; Marie Schmidt, piano; Helle Marstrand, double bass.

(Lyrics from Ragtime: After the Death of Our Sled Dog (2014)) -- see "Readings")

"High Bush Blueberries" Composition: Suwalski, lyrics: Levin
Premiere, Copenhagen, 11/1/14

Group; Another World  --
vocals, piano,Rikki Shelde;
accordion; Jens Skou Olsen, bass; Benita Hastrup; drums; trombone. Ayi Solomon, percussion; Lis Wessberg;  Katrine S;uwalski, sax

High Bush Blueberries

Crowns past reaching.  Yet
small girls stretch tiptoe,
wreathed in twigs, light-boned as birds.

(From Vineyard Summer: Snapshots (2008))