WATERED COLORS (2014)
“If Emily Dickinson and Ernest Hemingway lived at the same time in the same place and had a son together, he might have been a lot like Michael Levin. This strong collection demonstrates Levin’s ability to use words sparingly to create lasting images whose imaginative sensitivity, empathy for people he’s met, and others throughout the ages resonate through the searing or beautiful mind-pictures he paints. This is memorable work.”
Journalist, consultant, Best Women in Pennsylvania Business 2008, Wynnewood, Pennsylvania
and look with Michael Levin. The seasons, our relationships, the colors
and the water — so much full of wonder, so much that echoes with pain.
Our senses are heightened and our sensibilities deepened. It’s a gift to
see it all so fresh."
Former Secretary of the Navy
“Michael Levin's poems are colored by love and loss, by nature, by history and family, by the America in which he lives and the Europe of World War II. There are joys and beauties here along with loss and atrocities. Above all, the narrator seeks, as in Jewish tradition, to Choose Life!”
Author: The Habit of Fire: Poems Selected & New, Silver Spring, Maryland
“This fine collection chronicles the author's life journeys. While several poems recall losses he has experienced and celebrate lives that have
ended, it is the joy he finds in his house by the sea and in his family
that informs the book. In one of many moving evocations he declares his
love for "my first-born's love," his future daughter-in-law on her
birthday. This is a book that affirms familial affection and in the
words of the prophet chooses life, in all its wondrous forms.”
Author and former editor, The Atlantic, Cambridge, Massachusetts
"[These poems contain] that fleeting essence of life that no other art form can capture.”
Author, West Tisbury, Massachusetts
"Calm observations showing poetry makes us alive as we can be."
Best Books for May 2014
Washington Independent Review of Books
A "debut collection [rich in] . . .emotional imagery."
Harvard Magazine, May/June 2014
Martha's Vineyard to Treblinka, birth to old age, Levin's debut volume
of poetry crosses myriad borders to paint lasting images of anonymous
doormen and beloved pet dogs, brothers and fathers, the living and the
MAN OVERBOARD (2018)
“…for openness is all the earth we have… Before clouds close and darkness rules, Michael Levin directs his eye towards gloomy spots and illuminates them. His pen is a painter’s brush, creating transparency with unexpected depth. His work transports me to the essence of moments in different times and places, with unusual clarity. Following him I walk through landscapes and moods, sharp-edged forms and fading contours. I breathe new air — and smell it. I sense vividly the spaces he conjures — be it the wide space of Chile’s fateful immensity, or the tiny cramped space of an emergent Hitler’s bathroom, narrow and angry. Each time I read these poems, new paths reveal themselves."
International jazz musician, composer, band leader and music educator, Copenhagen, Denmark
"Michael Levin’s poems are a captivating collection of dramatic slices of life netted over the course of decades. Rhythmic, accessible passages read like colorful murals, describing tastes, sounds, and visions in sensual tones and longings, connecting to intimate relationships with people and places he has known or imagined. This book was like an elixir. It soothed during a time of great stress."
Executive Producer, Meteopa Productions; Founding Director & Executive Producer, The Jüdische Kulturbund Project , Washington DC
"In Man Overboard you’ll relive the mopped antiseptic floor of a grandfather’s assisted living facility and the harried white-shoe squeak of a son’s ER stay. In these 29 mostly short poems you’ll also visit the Valley of the Kings. Laguna Beach, and a young Hitler shaving. Most of all, Michael Levin’s fresh descriptors and flowing line will carry you to a moment — a moment of acknowledgement, different in each poem but similar in their power to strike sparks. Engaged readers might remember Wordsworth’s 'emotion recollected in tranquility.' That line acquires new life here."
Director, Research and Education Program, National Endowment for the Humanities (ret.), Kent Island, Maryland
"Levin’s poetry circumnavigates the globe like a time-traveling Indiana Jones and sticks a shiny fork deep into earth’s volcanic heart. Family poems coexist with others about Pompeii, Marilyn Monroe, John Ashbery, Hitler, Oxford, and the Royal Tombs of Ur. It’s an omnibus, and Levin is the tour guide, MC, and conscience, balancing repetition and internal rhyme — the compass to plot our course and bring us back alive."
Editor, Gargoyle Magazine, Arlington, Virginia
"The takeaway in reading Levin is how many places he tackles and how many ideas he generates. It’s a kaleidoscope of pop culture, high culture, and personal experience. He’s learnèd in a sweet unpretentious way with a knowledge of sculpture, history and artifacts — these embedded, not dominating the writing. I would say variety is a good word for poetry. This writer has a trained ear for this; each poem is different, and there’s no repetition to be seen. The talent in Man Overboard is tonal, with a repudiation of ugliness in the world."
Best Books for December 2018
Washington Independent Review of Books
". . . what a treasure of thoughtfulness, of history, of art, of people, of relationships, of love and loss, of life itself. . . the range, the sweep, the depth, the frankness, the wisdom, the horrendous, the lyrical, the call to arms for all of us from ancient times to the present, the humanity of it. . . . Deserves a huge audience."
Hon. Andrew Maguire
Former Congressman and Senatorial candidate (D-NJ)
"Very moving work. What keen observation!"
President, Environmental Governance Institute International, Washington DC