When Larry Levis died suddenly in 1996, Philip Levine wrote that he had years earlier recognized Levis as the most gifted and determined young poet I have ever had the good fortune to have in one of my classes. . . . His early death is a staggering loss for our poetry, but what he left isevement that will enrich our lives. Each of his books was published to wide critical acclaim, and David St. John has collected together the best of his work from his first five books: Wrecking Crew (1972), Afterlife (1976), The Dollmakers Ghost (1981), Winter Stars (1985) and The Widening Spell of the Leaves (1991).
It is not an exaggeration to say that the death of Larry Levis in 1996of a heart attack at 49sent a shock wave through the ranks of American poetry. Not only was Levis a gooew, won the United States Award from the International Poetry Forum, and was published in the Pitt Poetry Series in 1972. His second book, The Afterlife, won the Lamont Award from the American Academy of Poets in 1976. In 1981, The Dollmakers Ghost was a winner of the Open Competition of the National Poetry Series. Among his other awards were three fellowships in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Fulbright Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Larry Levis died in 1996.