Gregory Donovan and Alumna Michelle Poulos to Publish Book on Local Poetry Legend Larry Levis

March 2, 2020

Prismatics book cover imageThe Richmond and Qatar-based independent press Diode Editions is proud to announce the publication of Prismatics: Larry Levis & Contemporary American Poetry by VCU Faculty Gregory Donovan and MFA alumna Michele Poulos. The book collects the full-length versions of interviews with fourteen notable American poets, including two U.S. Poet Laureates, conducted in the making of the documentary film A Late Style of Fire: Larry Levis, American Poet. The life and work of Levis provides an entryway into lively conversations that expand as each poet provides a unique viewpoint on making a life in poetry during a striking and transformative time.

Prismatics: Larry Levis & Contemporary American Poetry is a collection of the full-length transcriptions of the extended interviews conducted with a group of America’s most notable poets—including two U.S. Poet Laureates—in making the documentary film A Late Style of Fire: Larry Levis, American Poet. These discussions cover not only their relationships with Levis and his poetry, but also more wide-ranging commentaries on a broad spectrum of American literary life.

Prismatics reflects the multiple angles of perception provided by its fourteen participating poets, including David St. John (who also contributed the foreword), Philip Levine, Charles Wright, Norman Dubie, Gerald Stern, Carolyn Forché, Stanley Plumly, Colleen McElroy, David Wojahn, Carol Muske-Dukes, Kathleen Graber, Peter Everwine, Charles Hanzlicek, and Gail Wronsky. The book’s title points out that Levis’s personal and professional life as a writer provides a prism which leads these discussions to range broadly into a wider portrait of a highly influential era of poets and poetics, personified not only in Levis, but in each of the poets interviewed. In these lively, spontaneous conversations, Prismatics provides an informed and intimate portrait of the risks and triumphs of a life in poetry, a discussion of distinct intellectual, practical, and historical value that’s also emotionally involving—and quite entertaining.

Diode Editions is an independent press based in Richmond, Virginia and Doha, Qatar. Founded as an offshoot of the Diode Poetry Journal in 2012 by Editor-in-Chief Patty Paine, Diode has published 31 titles of poetry and nonfiction to date. Diode authors include emerging poets, such as: Simone Person, a 2018 Diode Editions Chapbook Contest winner and Pink Door Writing Retreat Fellow; and Daniel Blokh, a 2018 National Student Poet. Diode is also proud to celebrate the work of established authors, such as: Jehanne Dubrow, winner of the 2018 Adrienne Rich award for “Dark Lines Against the Dark,” selected by Naomi Shihab Nye and included in Jehanne’s winning 2019 Diode Editions Book Contest collection American Samizdat; Remica Bingham-Risher, winner of the 2016 Diode Editions Book Contest and finalist for the 2018 Virginia Literary Award in poetry; and Paul Guest, a Guggenheim Fellowship and Whiting Writers' Award recipient.