Levee (Paperback)

Staff Pick Badge
Levee Cover Image
NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days

Staff Reviews

The late poet Paul Otremba left us with one more beautiful, thoughtful collection of poems that reflect on Houston’s floods, the city’s practices of oil extraction, and suburb expansion, as well as the nature of time, vulnerability, and change.

— From Lyric's Top Ten Books by Bayou City Writers, 2019


The poems in Paul Otremba’s Levee explore the intersection between the ecological, the political, and the personal in a world built on oil and greed. The city of Houston is at once backdrop and metaphor for the ways in which violence—both natural and manmade—have become part and parcel of twenty-first century life. “It’s a luxury to be this calm,” Otremba writes in the opening poem, a held-breath between the disastrous effects of hurricanes and cancer. Yet Otremba’s exquisite lines manage to wrest meaning from the devastation wrought by both global warming and a terminal illness: “If there is a lesson / on how not to worry, it’s that you’re not stuck only being one thing, /the multitudes in me and the multitudes in you.”

About the Author

Paul Otremba is also the author of The Currency (Four Way Books, 2009) and Pax Americana (Four Way Books, 2015). He teaches at Rice University and in the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers. He lives in Houston.

Praise For…

Levee is simply beautiful: thrillingly intelligent, Keatsian in its restlessness, and filled with love even for the flood-soaked ruins of our America, where the levees of the old order are always giving way. By turns scathingly ironic and heartbreakingly sincere, Otremba has written the poems we need in this new century, and they confirm that he is an essential voice of his generation.” —Patrick Phillips

“There is absolutely nothing naive in Paul Otremba’s third collection, Levee, which confronts some of the most difficult existential and cultural realities I can imagine, but likewise there is none of the cynicism or easy irony a poet writing in our time might otherwise understandably resort to. These poems, beautifully haunted by John Keats, among others, revisit and query with honesty and vulnerability whether that chiastic equation about truth and beauty and beauty and truth can really still be true." —Jennifer Grotz

"...Otremba’s command of form and structure, and the scope of his exploration, make this a worthwhile outing."
— Publishers Weekly
Product Details
ISBN: 9781945588419
ISBN-10: 1945588411
Publisher: Four Way Books
Publication Date: September 3rd, 2019
Pages: 128
Language: English