Today on Jonesy, we welcome Shawn Levy, author of the new book of poems A Year in the Life of Death, from Portland’s University of Hell Press. Inspired by an obituary for Adele Mailer in the New York Times, Shawn decided to write 100 poems based on obits published in the Times from November 2015 through January 2017. And it happened to be a banner year for deaths – some famous, some not-so-famous but well worth knowing.
Shawn’s the author of eleven books, including Rat Pack Confidential, Paul Newman: A Life, King of Comedy: The Life and Art of Jerry Lewis, and The Castle on Sunset. He served as film critic of The Oregonian from 1997 to 2012 and KGW-TV from 2009 to 2016. A former senior editor of American Film and former associate editor at Box Office, Shawn’s published work in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian, Interview, Movieline, and Sight and Sound, among many others.
A Year in the Life of Death is Shawn’s first book of poems. In the words of another wonderful Portland author, Lidia Yuknavitch: “Shawn Levy has written into the mouth of death with a mission: to reclaim joy, ecstasy, passion, the matter of art. This book is a wailing song, with side eye when and where you need it. These poems are a resuscitation of art and heart.”
Shawn will be launching the new book, along with another new University of Hell Press title – 2020 The Year of the Asterisk – Thursday, November 11th at Mother Foucault’s Bookshop in SE Portland. The event starts at 6:30pm. Shawn will also be appearing at the Portland Book Festival, this Saturday, November 13th. He’ll be spending most of the day at the University of Hell table in the festival’s exhibit hall. And invites you all to drop by, say hello, and get your book signed if you’re so inclined.