During common hour on Tuesday, March 1st, in the Hillwood Study Lounge, the Poetry Center of C.W. Post hosted a reading by Professor Emeritus Dan Levin. A crowd of approximately 50 students, professors, and members of the C.W. Post community were in attendance. Some sat at the circular tables and others stood leaning against the wall in an effort to hear the voice of a man whose life experiences include serving in the U.S. Marine Corps in World War II, working as a State Department reporter at the United Nations, and teaching creative writing and world literature at our very own Long Island University.
Alternately, Dr. Levin, Dr. Joan Digby from the honors department, and Dr. Richard Walsh read from Dr. Levin’s upcoming collection of poetry, “Waiting for B Train and Other Poems.” The poems ranged in theme, encompassing Dr. Levin’s reflections on his immigration from Russia to Brooklyn during the Great Depression, his time spent as a sergeant-combat correspondent in Iwo Jima, and his lyrical impressions of the sublime, which he resurrected among the chaos of World War II’s brutality and barbarity. Dr. Levin contextualized most of the poems for his audience, reminiscing about the sounds of Buskwick and the smell of the sea from the ledge of a command ship.
Towards the end of the reading, students Amanda-Beth Campbell and Michelle Mainente lent their voices to Dr. Levin’s words, reading poems that addressed both the anonymity of combat in the 1940s and the surge of hope that sprung from the election of President Barrack Obama in 2008. Blessed with the opportunity to listen to such a saga, those in attendance left with a newfound appreciation for the enduring spirit of creativity, which pervades every hostile global climate, from Iwo Jima to Benghazi.