by Arne Weingart


ISBN 9781941561041


Publication date: December 1, 2015

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FROM "The Peace Process"

It begins with the birds
with their acute but limited vision
stepping slowly around the fresh edge
of the crater at the marketplace
the morning after the improvised explosion
distinguishing the random pomegranate seed
from the sticky rust-colored ball bearing

Then the women working the blast site
like a garden plot ready for harvest
there is a frayed piece of woven wristband
a recognizable edge of a favorite light blue vest
a unique bead from a suddenly unstrung necklace

Next the earth moving equipment
in weird cheerful yellow making tentative
choked-off gestures you first no you I insist
straight out of modern dance but raising
nonetheless biblical clouds of dust that settle
on the amber glasses of undrunk tea
of the men whose job it is to sit
and argue in the cafe around the corner

Just below our room on the third floor
high enough to have seen everything if only
we had been there your back as your turn toward
the window just like the back of a famous statue
in a museum we once meant to have visited

Praise for Levitation for Agnostics

“The poems in this exceptional debut guide us through suicide bombings, pizza outings, second grade car pools, and the idea of Egypt. Weingart has an incredible talent for heteroglossia and humor. One poem reads, ‘as for me I am still in love / with all that I have lost.’ As for me, I am in love with this book.”

author of The Book of Goodbyes
New American Poetry Prize Final Judge

“Delightful, wry, and human, with a great ear for language and wit, sympathetic yet detached with a truly wide-ranging mercy.”

author of What Narcissism Means to Me

“Several primary virtues residing in Arne Weingart’s excellent poems are Clarity, Honesty, Humor, and Honor. These do not make his creations poetic. His exquisite language does that. They make them valuable to us and deeply memorable.”

author of Resurrection of the Dust

“Arne Weingart’s poems are a skeptic’s delight, but the agnostic challenges he throws out are wonderfully exhilarating because they are warmed by a tender and generous spirit. With powerful restraint and an unfailing ear for irony, he engages with the tragi-comic absurdities of the world—history both public and intimate, characters both real and literary—to marry wicked wit to inescapable emotion and the result is a collection too long in coming but thoroughly worth the wait.”

author of Cora Fry’s Pillow Book

“As the title of this excellent book suggests, Weingart's poems are mordantly witty, intelligently skeptical, understated in the best sense, and incisively accurate. Levitation for Agnostics promises a paradoxical gift to those whose minds deny them faith and whose hearts deny them denial: the gift of poetry, the lift of lyric, the momentary weightlessness of a restless contemplative spirit. ‘I would sign up / to lose it all again / in an afterlife if only / the universe were not expanding / but contracting into something / more hilarious...,’ he contends in one of the book’s finest poems. And, at least for the moment we find ourselves rising, we believe.”

author of Skandalon and The Infinity Sessions

“When wisdom is set forth with such modesty it makes you smile or laugh aloud, or when a blunt truth comes at you so elegantly phrased it makes you inhale sharply, you’re probably reading a poem by Arne Weingart. Page after page, his Levitation for Agnostics is reliably wonderful.”

author of Blacksnake at the Family Reunion

“The great strengths of this terrific first collection are the poet’s sparseness and athleticism. The poems range from rueful to ironic to laugh-out-loud funny to catch-your-breath cultural/political criticism. Like the ‘Giocometti Nail’ of the last poem, Weingart manages to ‘become merely beautiful / absolutely essential / completely useless,’ in a compelling and original way.”

author of This Sharpening and Dogged Hearts