Small Disasters Seen in Sunlight
by Julia B. Levine

Louisiana State University Press, 2014. ISBN 978-0-807-15453-3.
Reviewed by Trilla Pando
Posted on 03/25/2014


"to look, to wonder
which is crueler, memory or forgetting?"

Julia Levine poses this hard question in "Poem Ending with an Unanswered Question." It is a question that Small Disasters Seen in Sunlight never completely answers as it makes a case for remembering in the forty-three poems that make up the book.

Taken alone, these poems are entrancing in their own right. Levine's sense of place is as strong as her insights into human nature. Taken with the themes of disaster and hope, the poems present an entrancing collection.

For this reader, not all of the disasters seem small—a father's death, a bereft mother, divorce, joined twins—but clinical psychologist Levine views these hard situations and many more, not as hopeless and, often in fact, offering hope.

All of us face disasters, if not the ones depicted in these pages, equally distressing ones, and all readers of poetry can gain insights into their own feeling and reactions. Likewise, there is sunlight in all lives. Often it's a matter of focusing the sunlight on the disaster.

I'm reminded of the words of Catherine the Great: "I beg you take courage; the brave soul can mend even disaster."

Award winning poet Julia B. Levine also holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology; she practices in Davis, California where she lives.

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