Lev­i­ta­tion for Agnostics

  • From the Publisher
May 3, 2016

Lev­i­ta­tion for Agnos­tics is the Arne Wein­gart’s debut book of poet­ry and win­ner of the 2014 New Amer­i­can Press Poet­ry Prize. The author grew up as a denom­i­na­tion­al­ly Con­ser­v­a­tive Jew in Nashville, TN. Many of the poems explore issues attached to Jew­ish iden­ti­ty and explore those themes for­ward and back­ward in time and Amer­i­can cul­ture. The poems them­selves are large­ly nar­ra­tive in struc­ture and direct in use of lan­guage. Any obscu­ri­ty or eva­sive­ness is strict­ly unin­ten­tion­al. Irony (not to be con­fused with cyn­i­cism) could be con­sid­ered a default set­ting or depar­ture point for most poems although not an inevitable des­ti­na­tion. Humor some­times hap­pens. The best poems are sur­round­ed by silence.

Although poet­ry can be thought of as a self-con­scious­ly lit­er­ary genre, the indi­vid­ual poems in this book and the book as a whole are entire­ly acces­si­ble to a non-“literary” audi­ence. The specif­i­cal­ly Jew­ish themes will res­onate with Amer­i­can Jews, regard­less of back­ground, and the book con­nects, in the way that only poet­ry seems capa­ble of, with the uni­ver­sal need for belief.

Discussion Questions