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Larry Levis: A Celebration
Virginia Commonwealth University

      . . . when I am weary of the mediocrity and smallness of so much
      that passes for poetry I go to Larry’s work and revive my belief in
      the value of the art we shared.  —Philip Levine

  Larry Levis (1946-1996), photo by Jay Paul
   Larry Levis (1946–1996)
 Photo by Jay Paul
 Conference Program
 Conference Poster
     My Story in a Late Style of Fire
   A film by Michele Poulos

     Work by, about, or inspired by
   Larry Levis in Blackbird
   provides easy-to-remember
   access to this page.

All events for Larry Levis: A Celebration are complete. Thanks to everyone who made the three–day conference a success and congratulations to Peter Campion, winner of the 2010 Levis Reading Prize for The Lions.

Links in the right menu provide further information on the Levis Reading Prize, Levis in Blackbird, and a documentary film in the making.


Honoring the life and writing of poet Larry Levis (1946–1996) and marking the acquisition of his papers by the James Branch Cabell Library of Virginia Commonwealth University, the Department of English and its MFA in Creative Writing Program have organized a three-day literary conference, September 22–24, 2010, featuring a keynote reading by Philip Levine, Levis’s literary friend and former teacher.

The conference also presents a kick-off event featuring David St. John, as well as several days of panels and discussions from a stellar group of participating poets and editors from around the country.

The conference concludes with a special evening celebrating the award of the Levis Reading Prize to the 2010 winner, Peter Campion, author of The Lions.

A remarkable gathering of poets, editors, and literary commentators—friends of Larry Levis and admirers of his work—will participate in the conference, including Michael Collier, Ed Ochester, Stanley Plumly, Dave Smith, and David Wojahn, as well as Sam Pereira, Nicky Beer, Gregory Donovan, Matt Donovan, Mary Flinn, Kathleen Graber, James Hoch, Julia Johnson, Anna Journey, Alexander Long, J. Randy Marshall, Elizabeth Seydel Morgan, Ron Smith, and Amy Tudor, among others.

All morning and early afternoon events will be held in the VCU Cabell Library Special Collections Reading Room, 901 Park Avenue, while the late afternoon and evening events will be held in the Grace Street Theater, 934 West Grace Street.

All conference events are free and open to the public.

     Evening Conference Readings
      Grace Street Theater | 934 West Grace Street
Larry Levis (1946-1996), drawing by Patrick Vickers


David St. John
kick-off reading

Wednesday, September 22
8 p.m.

Philip Levine
keynote reading
Thursday, September 23
6 p.m.

Peter Campion
2010 Levis Reading Prize winner
Friday, September 24
8 p.m.


Larry Levis was a member of the VCU creative writing faculty and briefly served as program director as well. In the years since his death, Levis has continued to be an abiding, inspiring influence on succeeding generations of American poets, and the conference will celebrate his lasting achievement with poetry readings, papers, and panel discussions. One event will offer readings of Levis poems selected by conference participants, along with their comments on what they have found remarkable in that particular work, in addition to the presentation of essays and panels focused on the writing and career of Larry Levis, as well as readings by notable younger poets who have appreciated the model of his inventive approaches to the writing of poetry.

This celebration is made possible by the generous support of Carole Weinstein, the Levis family, New Virginia Review Inc., VCU Libraries, James Branch Cabell Library Associates, VCU Friends of the Library, VCU College of Humanities & Sciences, VCU Department of English, Blackbird, VCU MFA Creative Writing Program, VCU School of the Arts, VCU Honors College, WCVE, Barnes and Noble@VCU, David Freed, Joan Gaustad, Myron Helfgott, and Mamma Zu restaurant.

WCVE 88.9 | A community idea station | npr

for more information, contact

Gregory Kimbrell, Levis Conference Coordinator

Thom Didato, Graduate Programs Advisor

Larry Levis: A Celebration
Department of English
Virginia Commonwealth University
900 Park Avenue, Hibbs Hall, Room 306
P.O. Box 842005
Richmond, VA 23284-200


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   Cabell First Novelist Award
      About the Award

   Levis Reading Prize
      Information and Guidelines
      Larry Levis: A Celebration
      Levis Documentary Trailer
      Levis in Blackbird
      Current Winner
      Past Winners







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