Best Books of the Month Shop Men's Shoes Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Joe Bonamassa All-New Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote Beauty Videos Amazon Gift Card Offer jrscwrld jrscwrld jrscwrld  Amazon Echo Starting at $49.99 Kindle Voyage AutoRip in CDs & Vinyl Fall Arrivals in Amazon Outdoor Clothing STEM Toys & Games
Elegy (Pitt Poetry Series) and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Out of Print--Limited Availability.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Elegy (Pitt Poetry) Hardcover – October, 1997

3 customer reviews

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"

Best Books of the Month
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
Customers also viewed these available items
Out of Print--Limited Availability.

Editorial Reviews Review

Larry Levis was an outstanding poet, and a student and colleague of Philip Levine. Levine, who edited this posthumous manuscript, writes that Levis's "early death is a staggering loss for our poetry, but what he left is a major achievement that will enrich our lives for as long as poetry matters." That's high praise, and the poems in Elegy are sturdy enough to carry the weight of those expectations. Especially striking is "The Oldest Living Thing in L.A.," an encounter between urbanites trapped within the prisons of their routines, and an ancient-seeming possum crossing a busy city street: "It would lift its black lips & show them / The reddened gums, the long rows of incisors, / Teeth that went all the way back beyond / The flames of Troy & Carthage..." Levis's writing is marked by memorable imagery that resonates both to the world of our daily lives and our mythic longings for transcendence. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


"A landmark work written by one of America's finest poets. The imagery and mastery of tonal discipline, the way the poems feed off each other, and even the music of the line delicately posited with jazz improvisation, all make this book an important work to have close at hand." -- Richmond [VA] Times-Dispatch

"Elegy . . . often reveals the harsh nature of poetry as our age has insisted on it. These new poems carry Levis's speculative impulse far into the mind's shadows. . . . -- New York Times Book Review

"Everyone who cares about contemporary American poetry should read Levis's posthumous Elegy; despite quite a bit of dead-pan humor and a recurring air of self-mockery, it's a heartbreaking book." -- Jacqueline Osherow in The Antioch Review (Winter 1999)

"Levis's lines are never burnished in the way that [Charles] Wright's can be, but Levis possessed the same near-perfect pitch, and had reached a similar level of free-verse mastery. ...the poems are never less than brilliant." -- David Wojahn in The Kenyon Review, Summer/Fall 1998

"Published after the author's death in 1996, this resonant collection captures the poet at his peak, offering jazz improvisations on a fragmented world." -- Fodder: News from the Hungry Mind

"The poems in Larry Levis' posthumous book, Elegy, are haunted, a weave of lyrical 'riffs,' plangent scenes, and demotic narratives. Levis hones his discursive style masterfully here, turning frequently to objective correlatives in order to complement the poems' intense emotions. . . ." -- Harvard Review

"There isn't a false word anywhere. It is poetry that you read silently to yourself, then read it over again and get up out of your chair to take over and read aloud to someone else so you can share the thoughts and the music and hear the sounds of the words out loud.... -- The Fresno Bee

Anastasia And The Sandman
Boy In Video Arcade
The Cook Grew Lost In His Village, The Village In The Endles
Elegy Ending In The Sound Of A Skipping Rope
Elegy For Poe With The Music Of A Carnival Inside It
Elegy For Whatever Had A Pattern In It
Elegy With A Bridle In Its Hand
Elegy With A Chimneysweep Falling Inside It
Elegy With A Petty Thief In The Rigging
Elegy With A Thimbleful Of Water In The Cage
Elegy With An Angel At Its Gate: 1. Muir In The Wilderness
Elegy With An Angel At Its Gate: 2. Bunny Mayo In The New
Elegy With An Angel At Its Gate: 3. Stevens
Elegy With An Angel At Its Gate: 4. Like The Scattered Beads
Elegy With The Sprawl Of A Wave Inside It
In 1967
The Oldest Living Thing In L.a.
Photograph: Migrant Worker, Parlier, California, 1967
The Poem Returning As An Invisible Wren To The World
The Smell Of The Sea
The Thief In The Painting
The Two Trees
-- Table of Poems from Poem Finder®

See all Editorial Reviews

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Series: Pitt Poetry
  • Hardcover: 75 pages
  • Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press; First edition. edition (October 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822940434
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822940432
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,008,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See all 3 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 19, 1999
Format: Hardcover
If we, the reader, are skeptics and believers of the possibility of art, if we imagine that there is another space language occupies outside of that small room that is our lives, if we are willing to accept ironies and unwillingly acknowledge the tragedy that has always been the recurring theme of the individual, then this book is the past, the present, and future of our desire to live. It's hard to comprehend that there can be anything so miserable as a wish to live forever or anything so beautiful as two old horses named Anastasia and Sandman, but Larry Levis is one of the greatest poets in the American language and culture because of his ability to texture language and improvise narratives so fluid that the reader understand and arrives at that place where all words and all stories begin and end. That place being the middle or the ever-present present that exists when a word is spoken or read and the mind attempts to find the object, the meaning, or the example for what that word represents. Or that ever-present that becomes the present as the story teller remakes the story so that it is again something real and intangible and we experience it because it is there and we do not experience it because it is not there. I don't know how else to explain the book and each poem that invites the reader to examine mortality without the immediate allusion to death but the difficult exercise of life and the ironies it weaves around us. It is impossible to read this book and not feel completely desperate, lost, and in want of every moment of passion we've ever owned and lost to circumstance, fear, the idea of being embarressed in front of our peers.Read more ›
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Eliot Kahlil Wilson ( on April 21, 1998
Format: Hardcover
When Larry Levis, author of The Wrecking Crew and The Widening Spell of Leaves, died unexpectedly in May of 1996, he left behind Elegy, a collecion of twenty poems. Readers will recognize the style of Levis. His poems are labyrinthine and digressive in a way that many readers might find off-putting, but his associative peregrinations do little to detract from the overall power of his work. Readers will find the same themes they have come to expect from Levis: death, ecstasy, and human indifference. Reading Levis' work is like witnessing a car accident--a particularly bad one--your own.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By AR Braithwaite on October 10, 2012
Format: Paperback
In his posthumously published work, Elegy, Larry Levis intertwines an inspirational voice that at times is truly musical, with a conversational voice that is personable and also penetrating. For example in his poem "Anastasia & Sandman" Levis wrote, "Let's do it right now before wisdom descends upon us" and then lead into, "Because what's the use?". These lines play together and create ample lyricism while also approaching casual discussion or simply honest considerations about the world. He also easily oscillates between very specific details and images that contain more general metaphors. Themes invoked by this work include: personal reflection on the human condition, what love means in life, loss & death, breaking away from impersonality, the influence that others have on personal development, keeping alive familiar places, and remembering people from the past. Elegy maintains Levis' contemporary conversational style while also taking readers on a walk with him through personal experiences.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again