Poetry for life

27th February 2014

Alumni news

'Watered Colors' is a new poetry collection by Wadham alumnus Michael Levin (1964, English Literature/Theatre).

  • Michael Levin

  • Watered Colors

  • Michael and his wife, Nora Jean

  • Micheal with his oldest grandson, Michael Caden O’Hara Levin

The poems span twenty years and chronicle  experiences including celebrations of lives that have ended, the joy of a house by the sea,  and the flashes of love in a growing  family.

After achieving success in a 2012 national competition, the debut collection was released in February 2014 by Poetica Publishing of Virginia.

Said Levin: “I’ve been writing virtually all my life.  It’s not about inspiration; it’s about having to write to feel fully alive.”

 Levin had professional theatre opportunities but diverted to law. He explains: “When I came down from Wadham in 1966 as Nevill Coghill’s last student, I had playwriting fellowships to the Yale Drama School and Carnegie University.  I reluctantly declined them in favour of Harvard Law, partly because I was being pursued by draft boards during the U.S. Vietnam build-up.”  

He spent almost twenty years in federal government as a lawyer, policy expert and executive with the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies, in the Carter White House, and as Congressional Fellow to the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy. He then was in private practice at national law firms. He currently is an environmental / transactions lawyer and solar energy developer based in Washington DC and Menemsha (Martha’s Vineyard) Massachusetts.

Levin has long juggled writing with professional and family demands. His journalism has appeared in publications including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post.  He received two American Independent Writers awards for best published poem, and was a recent winner in the annual Writer’s Digest national poetry competition.  

The new collection’s title poem was written for the late artist/cartoonist David Levine, after Levin watched him paint a beach scene which many years later came to live over the fireplace at the Levin home.