Friday, November 9, 2007

POET, Louise Landes Levi due to read December 8, 2007 at the Hooker-Duhnam Theater

Here are a few recent online resources for the work of Louise Landes Levi who is scheduled to read at the Hooker-Duhnam Theater on December 8 at 7:00 PM.

Hooker Duhnam Theater
139 Main Street
Brattleboro, VT

The reading is followed by a reception and book signing
Free to the public with donations accepted

The following article on The Poetics of Prayer was published in
Big Bridge

An Introduction

The vocabularies of Prayer include an entire range of human expression, dance, design, dramaturgy, art, architecture &, of course the spoken word. Preserved since antiquity, the metaphysical & aesthetic qualities in Indian Dance , Tibetan Sand Paintings, Islamic calligraphy seem as vital to us now as they were 1000 years ago.

As poet & translator my preoccupation or 'dharma' has been with the spoken & written word. Experience in esoteric schools of learning attuned me , in particular, to the vocabularies & methods of 'transmission'. The resonance of prayer in ancient tongue 'Hebrew resonated through my childhood imbuing it with a sense of the primordial.

I hope the following article will serve to illustrate what I feel to be the inner, outer & secret methods of prayer & the way esoteric & esoteric culture maintain our human link to the non-dual or contemplative state.
Introduction to Guru Punk

Toward Totality (Vers la Completude) by Henri Michaux with translations by Louise Landes Levi with an introduction in Milk Magazine

Seven Poems in Otolith

More poems online at mtdmagazine

Banana Baby posted on Big Bridge

The Highway Queen with an interview

To read my article about Louise in Italy (photo above) go to my personal blog, Poetrymind.

LOUISE LANDES LEVI has translated & written books, published chap books, broadsides & cards, / played sarangi in concert halls, in radio stations in town squares & railroad stations for some decades & perhaps for some lives.

Overland journeys to India produced several interpretive translations/ one of Rene Daumal ( the great Sanskrit autodidact & author of well known Mt. Analogue) RASA originally printed by New Directions (1982), now available through Siva Stan, the other, of the legendary poet genius Mira Bai whose devotion to Krishna freed her entirely. SWEET ON MY LIPS was published by Cool Grove Press in 1997 & reprinted in 2003 w. an introductory essay by La Monte Young.

In a strange twist of fate, much of Ms. Levi’s own work was thrown away by a concierge (or divine agent) in Paris, 1977. Henri Michaux, known for his eremitism & anonymity, nurtured our author through this crisis. A generous selection of LLL’s translation from HM, plus an essay on her meeting with him can be found on line at Forthcoming fr. Coronamundi, a large selection of the work. Towards Totality, 2005.

Ms. Levi studied at the Univ. of Calif, played with Daniel Moore’s early fusion orchestra The Floating Lotus Magic Opera company, then traveled East, for more instruction. Please refer to (Guru Punk & Sweet on My Lips/author interview) for details.

Her poetry books include early chap books: Poems Ambrosial Press, Bombay, 1972, The Water Mirror (Het Water Spiegel) the Amsterdam School (tranls. B. Mohr) 1983, Amiata, Felix Mansingh, Amsterdam 1984, Departure, Guus Bauer, Amsterdam, 1986 and Concerto, Accordian Series, 7, City Lights Books, San Francisco, 1988, Extinction, Left Hand Books, Barrytown 1990 & 1992, The Tower, Il Bagatto, Amsterdam, 1994, The Highway Queen, PBP, Amsterdam & Vienna, 1994, Le Lampade di Casa Sono State Acesse, MA, tranls. Rita Degli Esposti, Supernova, Venice 1996 & 2000, Guru Punk, Cool Grove Press, Brooklyn, 1999, Chorma, transl. Sibila Rigori Porto dei Santi, Loiana 2000, Avenue A & Ninth Street, Shiva Stan Kathmandu-Woodstock, 2004, Ma’ Kar A Kar/MA, Univ. of Rhode Island, Providence, 2005 & forthcoming Crazy Louise, Felix Mansingh, Amsterdam 2005.

LLL is known to be peripatetic & shy. Please contact her for any publications that are as difficult to find as she is at:

Since 1992 she has directed Il Bagatto Books, printing occasional chapbooks, broadsides & postcards. The press originated in Arcidosso, Italy & travels w. her. It is co-sponsored by Ms. Sofia Bentinck.

On Sweet on my Lips

"Mirabai's spiritual vision and poetic genius shine through these pages. Verses of wounded pathos and soaring ecstasy are rendered here as vividly as if they had been spoken yesterday, yet with the incantatory power of sacred text. Levi's translations, brilliant in their lucidity, usher the reader directly into the heart of Mira's rare, impassioned devotion."
-Miranda Shaw. Author of Passionate Enlightenment.

"The West has St. Teresa d'Avila - the East has Mirabai. Whosoever understands them both understands all there is to understand."
- Claudio Rugafiori

"These poems of Mirabai have been beautifully translated from the Middle Hindi by Louise Landes Levi, and they should serve as a fine key to this tantric poet's consciousness. "
-Lawrence Ferlinghetti

"What makes these translations of Mirabai so remarkable is not so much this simpatico recognition among poets across time and space, but that for the first time these poems are rendered in the context of their original transmissions by one who is herself an initiate, tantric practitioner, and acarya of poetics. "
-Jacqueline Gens, extracted from The Mirror

On Guru Punk

Tracing a road that runs from Milarepa to Michaux, from Isabelle Eberhardt to Jack Kerouac, Ms. Levi, author of little known classics such as The Highway Queen and The Water Mirror, offers a compilation of spiritual experimentation & 'ordinary' road adventure. Here musical genre, iconoclasm & itinerancy mix as we observe the author's devotional impulse
"Louise is Sarasvati, goddess of poetry."
- John Giorno, Giorno Poetry Systems

"Louise Landes Levi's Guru Punk is sex in the city light years delivered from tv usa's yuppie mortification. the fast breath of punk and the endless flow of buddha. like passing beauty in the subway. it's there, it's gone, it's there again."
-Thurston Moore, Sonic Youth

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

More on Louise Landes Levi

I recently caught up with poet, LOUISE LANDES LEVI, in Italy where she lives in a tower located in the hill-top village of Bagnore, on the slopes of Mt. Amiata, Tuscany, the highest mountain in Tuscany. Here she writes, tutors students in poetics and music, performs
locally in the cafes and writes. She sells books locally & to practitioners who come to study with Choegyal Namkhai Norbu, a Tibetan Dzogchen master, from points as far away as Japan & New Zealand, and to the international body of practitioners who travel to the area.

Both Louise and I were attending a retreat taught by Choegyal Namkhai Norbu, with whom we’ve studied with for many years. Each day after the teachings, Louise would take me on a tour of the local region surrounding Mt.Amiata.

Here’s the visitor sign to Merigar where our retreat was held on the small road heading about 2 km uphill into a nature preserve on the slopes of Amiata where it appeared to be wild boar hunting season with blackberries in bloom all along the roadside. Merigar is located at the tip of this hill with views of farms and hay fields. Louise walks these roads between the complex of hill top villages in this rural part of Tuscany on ancient pathways as old as the Etruscans. Across from Merigar is a small mountain called Mt. LABRO, a mercurial mountain, where a prophet-- Catholic anarchist David Laszeretti, predicted the arrival of an 'oriental' teacher, some 100 years after his passing. Laszeretti was murdered by local police called in Italian, Carabinieri. Here, the 19th century visionary lived in an underground tomb of an Etruscan king. The entire region is a volcano with numerous sulphur springs that have been used medicinally since the time of the Romans.

Louise took me to such interesting sites such as Daniel Spoerri's extraordinary sculpture garden on his estate in Seggiano, the 12/13th century cave of St. Philippe and several local "poets" houses in the towns where they were remembered with a bronze markers-- all the while talking of poetry and dharma.

After many years of hearing about it or receiving post cards from her while living in her tower, I was finally able to visit it in person.

International poet, classical sarangi musician, scholar, and translator of Rene Daumal and Henri Michaux, Louise Landes Levi has traveled the globe for three decades. Her poetry books include, Banana Baby (Supernova, 2006), Avenue A & 9th Street (Shivastan, 2004), Chorma (Porto dei Santi, 2000) Guru Punk, (Cool Grove Press, 1999), Sweet on my Lips, Love poems of Mira Bai (Cool Grove Press, 1997), The House Lamps Have Been Lit (Supernova, 1996), Extinctions, (Left Hand Books, 1993), and Concerto, (City Lights, Accordian Series, 1988). Rene Daumal’s Rasa was published by New Directions in 1982 and most recently, Toward Totality (Vers La Completude) & Selected Works 1929-1973 of Henri Michaux (Shivastan, 2006) and Toward Totality I / Vers La Completude (Longhouse, 2006). Reviews, essays and poems have been published online in Big Bridge, Jacket, and Rain Taxi, among other publications.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Update to November 3 Poetry Reading

Robert Rivera, an acoustic and electric cellist will join Boston poet, Regie O'Hare Gibson for a collaboration on Saturday, November 3 at the Hooker-Duhnam Theater at 7:00 PM. Also reading is Putney poet, Chard deNiord.

Robert Rivera is a classically trained musician who studied at the Manhattan School of Music, Mannes College of Music, Juilliard School of Music, the Longy School of Music, the Boston Conservatory, and the Moscow Conservatory in Moscow, Russia, Robert has played extensively in the US and Europe, working in genres as diverse as classical, jazz, and improvisational music. Bands and artists Robert has worked with include: Reggie Gibson, The Jeff Robinson Trio, Jennifer Matthews, Annette Farrington, Hugh Mcgowan, Jenn Taranto, Jennifer Greer, A. J. Edwards, Jules Ellison, Amanda Palmer, and Ryan Montbleau.

Currently Robert is a Freelance cellist in The Boston, and New York City area. Also he is Producing a series at The OutPost in Cambridge. Presenting new music of local artist.