What got you interested in d.alevy?
And why do you continue to read him?

Response by Stephen Nelson


1. What was it about levy's work that first drew your interest, and what was it about the work that distinguished him from other poets you had read?

The first work by levy I read was a selection of visual poems from 'The Tibetan Stroboscope'. I was immediately taken by the use of ink on paper. It seemed so immediate and beautiful. Perhaps this had something to do with the use of mimeograph, but the more I looked, the more the juxtaposition of image and text began to work on me. The images themselves were interesting, especially taken out of context and reapplied in an avant poetic setting, but combined with text and other images from magazines and so forth, the effect was quite powerful and really rather liberating. There seemed to be a freedom and spontaneity about it, even a sense of fun. Again, the closer I looked, the more techniques like the blurring and bleeding text began to emerge and once more there was that sense of an immediate and pure beauty - simply ink on paper creating a living visual impression. As the themes of silence and communication began to assert themselves, however, I found I could relate to the new modes he was addressing. It was as if a kind of telepathic poetry were emerging which was both radical and exciting.

The same techniques were used on other works, like those taken from 'Zen Concrete'. Here the blurred text seemed to buzz frantically across the page, or flow like water, full of life. The shapes formed seemed to leave space to breathe, however, and this combination of buzzing life and silent space reflected, for me, the action and energy of urban life set against the silence that lies behind everything. There was a combination of contemplative spirituality and street cool which I rather liked.

2. What has kept you reading him (if you have been doing so over a long period of time), and/or why do you think his work will continue to interest you in the future?

I haven't actually been reading levy so long, but the avant garde nature of the work, the fact that it seems so many years ahead in terms of visual impact and theme means there will always be new experiences in the work. It's constantly fresh and stimulating.

3. How has levy influenced your own work?

Two things - first the element of spontaneity, working off a kind of unconscious energy flow. Secondly, he's influenced me to use whatever tools I have at hand. His work seems such an antidote to the air brush culture we live in and the hand made quality of the print work is so refreshing.


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