Donald Levering’s 16th poetry book, titled “Breaking Down Familiar,” has achieved notable recognition. Published by Main Street Rag Publishing Company, it secured the Creative Verse Book of Poetry category award in the 2023 New Mexico Press Women Communications Contest. Furthermore, it secured the second position in the same category in the National Federation of Press Women’s communications contest.
One of the contest judges, who chose to remain anonymous, commented on Levering’s work, stating that it is a compelling collection infused with insights gained from profound contemplations on how loss and mortality deeply affect the lives of our cherished ones. The judge continued by highlighting the collection’s unity through a persistent voice, emphasizing the presence of numerous memorable lines and revelations that resonate.
Written predominantly in free verse, interspersed with a selection of fixed form poems, the book grapples with a range of distressing tribulations experienced by the narrator, family members, and their faith. Among the thematic elements explored are illness and accidents, substance abuse and mental instability, as well as estrangement and divorce. The judge underscored the book’s resonance in the current societal landscape, remarking that it takes a firm stance by delving into the realm of emotions related to family and addiction. The blending of spirituality and reverence with the stark realities of dissolution further contributes to the work’s emotional potency.
Donald Levering, a former NEA Fellow, boasts a distinguished literary history, having previously earned accolades such as the Tor House Robinson Jeffers Prize, the Carve Poetry Prize, and the Quest for Peace Award in Rhetoric. Residing in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Levering dedicates his time to volunteering as a US Citizenship tutor and a Kitchen Angel.