Louise Landis Levi’s Crazy Louise (or la Conversazione Sacra) is a close view of sexual trauma, a reading and rewriting of the body, political and personal, in a series of poems….
Louise Landis Levi’s Crazy Louise (or la Conversazione Sacra) is a close view of sexual trauma, a reading and rewriting of the body, political and personal, in a series of poems. A deliberate departure―both from the formal construction of her previous works and from her focus on early (medieval) forms of feminine process and liberation (Sweet on My Lips, the Love Poems of Mira Bai), Levi here works close to home in a personal, often fragmented process. She details and deconstructs conventions relating to maternal instinct, hierarchical lineage and the suffering of female perceptual process within patriarchal constructs unable to recognize it. Levi writes as an “initiate,” redeeming oriental schools of “crazy” (unconventional) wisdom, or open mind, from the debilitating, socially invasive use of this same term in the occidental world. This series of untitled poems comprises writings ca.1992-2002 and serves as an introduction to the poet’s work―indeed unveiling, as the cover portrait of the author by legendary photographer Ira Cohen suggests. As Levi writes, “Ira knew how to look―he could prophesy through the lens. He knew I would one day unveil myself. Dear Reader, you certainly cannot tell a book by its cover―if you could these pages would be written in gold.”