Rumor of Cortez, Levine’s second book of poetry, unfolds the compelling dilemmas of a modern man at odds with the endless possibilities of the rapid-fire world. Here are poems that spin and dip into the myths and contradictions presented by history and the driving forces of want—desire amok in the “stopless” world the poet holds dear and celebrates even through intense sensual and spiritual conflict. These poems touch emotional chords most poets leave unsounded and vibrate with the jazz riffs and rhythms of Levine’s language.
In Levine’s referent universe, story matters. In the prize-winning persona poems, Adam and Eve keep house in Westchester, or in the Mississippi Review prize-winning series Orpheus takes Euridice to Rome, drives a Ferrari and wonders at the f-stops on his fancy camera while she wanders the catacombs alone. Sensual imprints enter through the eyes and ears, filling the places in us that need both poetry and story, music and love.