Twisting Words
New York Picture Books

New Poet Laureate: Philip Levine

Today the Library of Congress names a new poet laureate: Philip Levine, an eighty-three-year-old Detroit native who has written extensively about blue-collar work. Levine succeeds W.S. Merwin.

Book critic Dwight Garner writes an appreciation of Levine's work over at this morning's New York Times. "It is a plainspoken poetry ready-made, it seems, for a time of S&P downgrades, a double-dip recession and debts left unpaid," Garner says.

Readers will find poems by Levine online at the Academy of American Poets and the Poetry Foundation. From the latter, here's an excerpt from "Belle Isle, 1949". Sentimental it is not.

We stripped in the first warm spring night
and ran down into the Detroit River
to baptize ourselves in the brine
of car parts, dead fish, stolen bicycles,
melted snow.[...] 


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Oh, bravo, Mr. Levine. Detroit needs some love, especially now.

I was not familiar with him. Were you? I look forward to finding out about him though!

Tanita, yes!

AMT, yeah, I was somewhat familiar. A while back, I read a number of his poems--probably that book "What Work Is"--and really liked them. Very accessible work--which I always appreciate!

The comments to this entry are closed.