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Published: Thu Apr 15 1999
Diego Isaias Hernández Méndez, Convertiendse en Characoteles / Sorcerers Changing into Their Animal Forms (detail), 2013, oil on canvas. Arte Maya Tz’utujil Collection.
Dreaming in Spanish

With Juan Ramon I took the early train
out of the Atocha Station into the darkness
south toward Sevilla. Up late the night before,
we dozed past the fields of La Mancha
and missed the dawn breaking, the ditches
slowly overflowing with gray light, the day
arriving on time, no more remarkable than
any Tuesday in late October. When the train
lurched to a stop between empty stations
we could see in the distance four tiny men,
shotguns slung across their shoulders, returning
out of a wilderness of oaks with nothing.
“Look,” said Juan Ramon, his smile breaking,
his long dark face suddenly glowing with fever,
“a perfect poem someone has already ruined.”

See what's inside AGNI 49

Philip Levine won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1995 for his collection The Simple Truth (Knopf, 1995). A recent Writer in Residence at New York University, he is the author of twenty volumes of poetry and the recipient of two Guggenheims, the Frank O’Hara Prize, and numerous other awards. (updated 6/2010)

“Interview with Philip Levine” by Jason Shinder appeared in AGNI 49.

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