Peter Levitt

Peter Levitt is a man who has many careers: poet, author, translator, and lifelong peace activist. Levitt is originally from the United States but now lives in British Columbia, Canada.


Statement of Conscience (for Poets Against the War)

For a poet, whose morality and words are identities, there is often nothing more substantial to place against the cruelty of the world than the innate intimacy between things a poem manages to express. I think that as poets we have the hidden hope—perhaps hidden even from ourselves—that, against all odds, our poems will somehow reestablish a ground where life, in all its true nature and various forms, can live as it was meant to. Foolish, foolish souls, blessed with the notion—the certainty—that a human being armed with nothing more than a syllable may help to repair the world. And yet, if only for a moment, here and there, we have not been proven wrong.


Fill the air with poems
so thick—
even bombs
can't fall through  

Questions for Reflection: Statement of Conscience and “untitled” 

  1. What importance does Levitt place on words?
  2. What forces drive a poet to write? 
  3. Are poets always aware of these forces?What is the dream that Levitt speaks of in regard to writing poetry?
  4. Why do you write poetry?   How are your feelings close to those expressed by Peter Levitt?
  5. In “untitled” what hope does Levitt have for poems? How does this poem reflect his thoughts about the power of poetry?