Anne-Marie Levine

Bus Ride to a Blue Movie - Reviewed by Tyla Raredon

Levine, Anne Marie. Bus Ride to a Blue Movie. Long Beach, California: Pearl Editions 2003. 80 pages. $12.00

Anne Marie Levine's Bus Ride to a Blue Movie embodies candid verse full of offbeat wisdom and wit. She writes like a refined Charles Bukowski. This book contains honest poems that indicate this poet's ability to perceive with an inquisitive mind the peculiarity of everyday life.

The subject matter of this book is not elevated ideas or words, but rather an observable glimpse into the life of unconventional characters such as her nudist roommate in "Upstairs, Downstairs." Levine pulls us into her world that switches easily from the personal details of doctor appointments to love triangles to drinking wine with friends in Malibu.

There are 29 poems divided into four sections, each nicely intertwined with the next. Her poems include "Sex, Death and Bad Taste in London", in which she writes both about a bladder infection and a dinner conversation with a Russian pianist. "Out of a Stamp Roll and 400 Eggs", discusses, among other things, erectile dysfunction and how to tell if it is psychological or physiological. "You Won't Like This Poem" is about the struggle of a woman artist who goes against what is generally expected of her. "Mournful Nutrients" deals with the safety issues involved with swallowing semen and whether or not it has nutritional value.

In Bus Ride to a Blue Movie, Anne Marie Levine successfully utilizes humor, refined raunchiness, honesty, observations of interesting people and her relationships with them, to create entertaining and thought provoking poems. The reader has a unique opportunity to adopt her perspective as a pianist/scholar/poet. Themes of sex, love, art, disease, mental illness and death are all written about in a curious and surprisingly un-gloomy manner. This book of free-verse poems can be read again and again. With each new reading, new revelations and straightforward insights can be found. Bus Ride to a Blue Movie holds passion, brilliance and a touch of madness within its pages.