Suzanne Levine

A Writer’s Schedule

I get out of bed at the crack of 8:30. I wake up a lot earlier but nouns and verbs and occasional adjectives need to be rearranged in my head, the ones that keep me up at night. I separate the whites from the darks in the basement and the first load begins to slosh. Breakfast is something like oatmeal with fruit and yogurt, a cup of coffee then I read the Times or whatever else might be on the kitchen table while a red pepper roasts on the gas range for lunch or something else bubbles into another meal. Check emails and fb until the first load needs more separating like the clothes that can’t go into the dryer and need to be hung. The ones I call hand-washed. Load next load wondering, is this how Lydia Davis does it before running back upstairs to jot down more irony? W.C. Williams between patients with a stethoscope around his neck? I type a few lines on the computer when my husband shows up with a bushel of tomato seconds, those with slight decay or deformity and because I think that I want to make a lasagna for Sunday supper, I get a sauce started so that it can cook for the next three hours when we have to leave for an appointment to schedule a teaching job. I’m hungry and drink a delicious leftover cold beet soup straight from the mason jar. The beginning of a poem starts to crack across the screen. I can’t stop and think I’m so fucking smart to have gotten onto something this original but I’m in sweats and a moth eaten maroon sweater that belonged to my ex and need to get lunch ready now in order to have time to bring up the last of the clothes to fold and get to the appointment. Also I haven’t washed a dish from breakfast. Yes, he helps but he helps his way. Over lunch he reads what I wrote in the morning, slim as it is and makes some suggestions I’ll mull over later. Dishes go in the sink because I want to spend the last few minutes before leaving to get this into some kind of shape, to at least get it on paper so I can carry it with me. We arrange to lead two eight-week writing classes for next spring and fall, stop for an ice cream on the way home and sit outside where the charity of September isn’t lost on us. Like all writers, we’re stealthy observers. I begin to wonder if the two seventh or eighth grade girls on another bench might have changed their clothes in the middle school bathroom before coming here because, beside the smoky eyes and kewpie-doll-pink lip gloss, I don’t think their mothers would approve of the cutoffs or cropped tee shirts, or the chandelier earrings grazing their bony shoulders. A cell phone rings and the large breasted girl talks with her mom, the heavily mascaraed eyes roll wearily at her friend whose face begins to tell the story.


Although our work for the week was devoted to words, I’m posting some photographs to illustrate our magical week on the Amalfi Coast.


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He’s back for DNA testing

A Monarchist Declines the King

Oh my lord, that spine. The S shape is my imprimatur,

just S. But you, after six hundred years, you are Mantel-

ready. Ready to replace Wolf Hall’s Cromwell as her

latest he. And who knows, her revisionist history might

then bury you in Westminster, in a stone-riven crypt

from Sussex at Horsham! A worshipper of royals, I

pressed esses into sealing wax and imagined the princess

sisters bowed over polished escritoires. With a head full

of pudding and suspicious of my birth year by centuries,

you and I have settled down, like the dig at Greyfriars church.

Drunken Boat #18

The beautiful, latest issue of DB is available on-line. I hope you will look for my poem, Press/Release.

Jeroboams of Joy in 2014,


Tidbits from Bleak House I couldn’t keep to my self. The man writes like the Dickens.

Each action permeates character and scene leaving the reader full but not overstuffed and burping adjectives. Dickens has the right words and the genius to play them in the right order, one of the Sisyphean tasks for writers.

“He retired into the sanctuary of his blue coat.”

“Such a fine woman as her, so handsome and so elegant, is like a fresh lemon on a dinner table, ornamental wherever she goes.”

“… down the hall, a few steps ahead of Mercury.”

“He came back like a recollection.”

“The ghosts of trees and houses, clothes lines…”

Mark it down. March 23-29, 2014

and sign up now for Praiano Writers with Wally Lamb, Lary Bloom and Suzanne Levine. Fly away with us for a week on the Amalfi Coast of workshops and readings like you’ve never seen before. You are only a click away,

An example of the local culture below: Paolo Sandulli’s sculpted women. Paola, also a poet, is a featured reader during our “Night of the Poets.” (

A short walk from the Villa to Paolo's studio in the torre.

A short walk from the villa to Paolo’s studio in the torre.


Clo and Stephen Davis: The P and W in Praiano Writers



Wally Lamb, Lary Bloom, Clo and Stephen Davis and I just returned home after a week long writers conference in the little town of Praiano on the Amalfi coast of Italy. I’m counting on some pictures to tell you about our pioneers, the first writers brave enough to sign onto our adventure of exploring writing as cross genre story telling. We are still decompressing but find it’s hard to come down from the high we experienced insieme, together.



A Siren Call to All Writers

The Amalfi Coast is calling. We have two spots left for you to join me, Lary Bloom and Wally Lamb for six days in Praiano, Italy. Please click on for more information. Say, ciao to all this white stuff and heed the call.




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