When There Are Nine

“But the great, overwhelming heart of the piece comes in the sixth movement, “On Dissent.” Here Levad lays out Ginsburg’s commitment to principled resistance to injustice, with reference to the long, gradual march of moral progress, and Kuster rises to the occasion with music of slowly arching grandeur.” -Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle

When There Are Nine is based on a cycle of nine poems by Levad inspired by quotes, rulings and observations of Ginsburg, who’s become a symbol of human rights and democratic possibilities. ‘People need a symbol of resistance,’ said Levad. ‘But humanizing our symbols is so important because it helps us remember we are all part of changing our culture.’” -John Malkin, Santa Cruz Sentinel

“…When There Are Nine, for mezzo-soprano, vocal ensemble and orchestra, Kristin Kuster’s wickedly entertaining partnership with librettist Megan Levad that celebrates the life and national impact of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg…The audience reaction ranged from sobriety to giggles and even one guffaw. That and a hearty standing ovation.” -Scott MacClelland, Performing Arts Monterey Bay


“How noble to tell a story like this in such a classical form; Levad’s angsty, passionate text could just as easily have served as the basis for a glam rock extravaganza. And how interesting that Levad, a straight woman can, with only a few poetic overindulgences, so potently capture the emotional state of a gay man.” -Brian Sands, Ambush

What Have I to Say to You

“Epistolary (letter) poems establish intimacy between the poet and intended reader…Levad’s letter is certainly unique. Likely it’s a metaphor commenting on the relationship between the poet and her ideal reader, or a fantasy about the power of the poet to express herself without the burden of a conscience.” -David Roderick, San Francisco Chronicle

SPD Poetry Bestsellers, March 2018

“In Karl Shapiro’s best book, The Bourgeois Poet (1964), there’s an excellent poem to Randall Jarrell. The last line of that poem goes, “I rush to read you, whatever you print.” That’s how I feel about Megan Levad. That’s how I feel, and that’s what I do.” -Anthony Madrid, The Paris Review

“Levad’s epistolary accumulations are intriguing, and move from confrontation to meditation, interior monologue to direct speech. The ‘you’ of her title, in a certain way, becomes superfluous, or at least secondary, making the remainder of her title a question she works with great attention and detail to answer…a kind of intricate, lyric character study composed as monologue.” -rob mclennan, rob mclennan’s blog

The Poetry Show! with Daphne Stanford, Radio Boise

“We all partake in these generalizations, of course, and Levad’s poetry is an elegant depiction of this exchange of ideas between writer and reader, each forming a vision of the world from the other. But Levad also emphasizes the confusion brought about by this exchange, a confusion clearly expressed in the question “Am I going to die?” -Andrew Hungate, Literary Matters

“Is this collection a letter marking the end of a love affair? Is it a record of the ways in which external voices interrupt our private dialogues? Is it a lamentation, a ‘choir of lowing whales?’ Is it a bitter confrontation of the human inclination to dream? We do not know. We do not need to know. This is not a book of life stories but of attitudes struck toward life, toward stories. The poems speed by, with an urge to entertain and to provoke before disappearing in a flash.” -Erica Funkhouser

“This is a voice that would tell a lover only the harsh skinny about itself and the most terrible truth, not about our fascination with the selfie, but instead the polaroid. This is a smart love of everyone and nearly everything and it graciously leaves behind unforgettable minimal/maximal artifacts that are vivid songs, alive and formal. What a wonderful human accomplishment this book is.” -Norman Dubie


“Levad’s libretto is beautifully written. The final bride’s statement: ‘I am an ash-winged moth in a chimney. I built my fragile tomb.’” -Mal Vincent, The Virginian-Pilot

“Ill-fated lovers, dark secrets and a Gothic 19th-century backdrop are de rigueur for many a blockbuster or streaming smash hit—and the formula, it seems for a successful opera. Composer-librettist team Kristin Kuster and Megan Levad combine music and an eerie setting with their new opera, Kept: A Ghost Story, and the result is thrilling.” -Sarah Schuster, Virginia Living

Why We Live in the Dark Ages

“Levad’s debut poetry collection is exquisite. The text is a cycle of unearthing the memories of what a human is and what a human does...If Hawking is correct and erasure is coming, by our own hands, then these poems will transcend our consciousness to reflect speech and bookmark our bodies in time.” -Heather Goodrich, Bombay Gin

“A question can be an assertion? // Power? Feminism? // Overvaluing contingency uncertainty gaps is ignorance? Undervaluing contingency uncertainty gaps is tyranny? // The question marks a form of excess?” -Ariana Nadia Nash, The Bind

“Why We Live in the Dark Ages is an odd, darkly funny, very smart collection of what aren't quite poems, but extended tangents...” -Megan Burbank, Portland Mercury

“In her first collection, Levad has shown a sharp intelligence and a remarkable ability to imitate modern vocalities and invent forms that mirror the hyperactivity of contemporary life. Her poetic voice reveals a talent that is both classically satirical and invigoratingly original.” -Karl Williams, The Michigan Daily

“…a bunch of thoroughly droll and inventive prose pieces, wherein she set out to explain (reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly) various complex processes and ideas—without doing a dot of research.” -Anthony Madrid, The Paris Review

“Similarly, the language of Megan Levad’s ironic prose poems ‘Nanobots’ and ‘Why We Live in the Dark Ages,’ interrogates the way we educate our youth about science; they make me wonder what in the world we need to do to re-ground ourselves in the rigorous wonder that science and the humanities, together, require.” -Julie J. Nichols, NewPages

“The speaker, though who is the speaker, anyway there’s definitely a speaker because these poems have a really oral quality to them, oral as in spoken, not as in sex. And I say she because I assume she’s a she because Megan Levad is a she which you're not supposed to do. She’s a brilliant poet and I would read her book. I did. I mean I would if I were you, out loud. Read it.” -Evie Shockley

“Megan Levad is bringing us strange news from our own planet in these pieces—news we would have missed if it weren’t for her keen eye, its otherworldly gaze, and her wild poetic senses of humor and horror. Why We Live in the Dark Ages is suffused with tenderness and savage insight, and although a violent red thread runs through it, there’s hope here, too. This work announces Levad as an important new voice, an inventor of both musical and discursive forms, and a poet we’ve needed, whose work might change us and save us, or at least make us reconsider all we’ve taken for granted. Levad reminds us what poetry is for by being a poet of extraordinarily elastic range, pushing at the art to make it do what it hasn't done before.” -Laura Kasischke


You Are Where You Live

“Levad builds each of her poems from one of the Nielsen Company’s consumer categories, leaving us a string of voices—both orchestrated and overheard.  Her sequence crosses Spoon River Anthology with an avant-garde erasure, and flexes—like all the poems here collected—a multi-muscular strength.” -Derek Mong, Mantis

“Loneliness, a scrapture. Megan Levad writes, it’s not true anymore.” -rob mclennan, “Vowel frequencies,” N/A


And More

Living Writers with T Hetzel, WCBN

“I found Levad’s response particularly interesting. She lived in New York City at the time of the attacks and shared that she found dance performances the most cathartic because of their physicality and use of silence.” Klickitat

CLMP Taste Test