January 10, 1928|
|Known for||Award winning poet|
Philip Levine (born January 10, 1928) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet and academic. He taught for many years at California State University, Fresno. He was the Distinguished Poet in Residence for the Creative Writing Program at New York University.
Levine was born and grew up in Detroit, Michigan. The familial, social, and economic world of 20th-century industrial Detroit is one of the major subjects of his life's work. His portraits of working class Americans and his continuous examination of his Jewish immigrant inheritance (both based on real life and described through fictional characters) has left a testimony of mid-20th century American life.
Levine began to write poetry while he was going to night school at Wayne University (now Wayne State University) in Detroit and working days at one of that city's car manufacturing plants. He earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa, where he studied with Robert Lowell and John Berryman.
Levine's working experience lent his poetry a profound skepticism in regard to conventional American ideals. In his first two books, On the Edge (1963) and Not This Pig (1968), the poetry dwells on those who suddenly become aware they are trapped in some murderous processes not of their own making. Other collections include the National Book Award-winning What Work Is, A Walk with Tom Jefferson, and his New Selected Poems.
In 1968, Levine signed the “Writers and Editors War Tax Protest” pledge, vowing to refuse tax payments in protest against the Vietnam War.
On November 29, 2007 a tribute was held in New York City in anticipation of Levine's 80th birthday. Among those celebrating Levine's career by reading Levine's work were Yusef Komunyakaa, Galway Kinnell, E.L. Doctorow, Charles Wright, Jean Valentine, and Sharon Olds. Levine himself read several new and interesting poems. He thanked his students and asked them to refrain from asking for any more letters of recommendation.
In his first two books, Levine was somewhat traditional in form and relatively constrained in expression. Beginning with They Feed They Lion, Levine's poems are typically free-verse monologues tending toward trimeter or tetrameter. The music of Levine's poetry depends on tension between his line-breaks and his syntax. The title poem of Levine's book 1933 (1974) is an example of the cascade of clauses and phrases one finds in his poetry.
- 1995 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry - The Simple Truth"
- 1991 National Book Award - What Work Is
- 1979 National Book Critics Circle Award Ashes: Poems New and Old
- 1979 American Book Award for Poetry - Ashes: Poems New and Old
- 1979 National Book Critics Circle Award - 7 Years from Somewhere
- 1975 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize "The Names of the Lost"
- 1987 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize
- Harriet Monroe Memorial Prize from Poetry
- Frank O'Hara Prize
- Two Guggenheim Foundation fellowships
- On the Edge (limited edition). Iowa City, IA: Stone Wall Press, 1961; second edition, 1963.
- Silent in America: Vivas for those Who failed (limited edition). Iowa City, IA: Shaw Avenue Press, 1965.
- Not This Pig. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1968.
- 5 Detroits. Santa Barbara, CA: Unicorn Press, 1970.
- Thistles: A poem sequence (limited edition). London: Turret Books, 1970.
- Pili's Wall. Santa Barbara, CA: Unicorn Press, 1971; second edition, 1980.
- Red Dust (illustrated by Marcia Mann). Santa Cruz, CA: Kayak, 1971.
- They Feed They Lion. New York: Atheneum, 1972; New York: Knopf, 1999.
- 1933. New York: Atheneum, 1974.
- New Season (pamphlet). St. Paul, MN: Graywolf Press, 1975.
- On the Edge and Over: Poems old, lost, and new. Oakland, CA: Cloud Marauder, 1976.
- The Names of the Lost (limited edition). Iowa City, IA: Windhover Press, 1976; New York: Atheneum, 1976.
- 7 Years from Somewhere. New York: Atheneum, 1979.
- Ashes: Poems new and old. New York: Atheneum, 1979.
- One for the Rose. New York: Atheneum, 1981.
- Selected Poems. New York: Atheneum, 1984.
- Sweet Will. New York: Atheneum, 1985.
- A Walk with Tom Jefferson. New York: Knopf, 1988.
- New Selected Poems. New York: Knopf, 1991.
- What Work Is. New York: Knopf, 1991.
- The Simple Truth. New York: Knopf, 1994.
- Unselected Poems. Santa Cruz, CA: Greenhouse Review Press, 1997.
- The Mercy. New York: Knopf, 1999.
- Breath: Poems. New York: Knopf, 2004.
- News of the World. New York: Knopf, 2009.
- Don't Ask (interviews). Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1981.
- Earth, Stars, and Writers (lectures; With Orlando Patterson & Norman Rush). Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1992.
- The Bread of Time: Toward an autobiography. New York: Knopf, 1994.
- So Ask: Essays, conversations, and interviews. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2002.
- Jaime Sabines, Tarumba: The selected poems (editor, & translator with Ernesto Trejo) . San Francisco, CA: Twin Peaks Press, 1979.
- Gloria Fuertes, Off the Map: Selected poems (edited with Ada Long, & translated). Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1984.
- Character and Crisis: A Contemporary Reader (edited with Henri Coulette). New York: McGraw, 1966.
- The Pushcart Prize XI (edited with D. Wojahn & B. Henderson). Wainscott, NY: Pushcart, 1986.
- John Keats, The Essential Keats (selected, & author of introduction). New York: Ecco Press, 1987.
Audio / videoEdit
Sound recordings include Philip Levine Reading His Poems with Comment, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1975; Bicentennial Poetry Discussion, 1976; The Poetry and Voice of Philip Levine, Caedmon, 1976; Hear Me, Watershed Tapes; Philip Levine, 1986; and Mark Turpin and Philip Levine Reading Their Poems in the Mumford Room, 1997.
- "Breakfasts with Joachim" by Philip Levine, published in Blackbird, an online journal of literature and the arts.
- "Philip Levine" profile & 10 poems at the Academy of American Poets.
- Philip Levine b. 1928 at the Poetry Foundation.
- Philip Levine at PoemHunter (105 poems).
- Video: Philip Levine walks and talks with us about poetry in Brooklyn, NY - The Cortland Review Winter 2009 Feature
- Audio: Three poems read by Philip Levine: "Distant February", "The Privelege of Power, 1965", "Assembly" - The Cortland Review
- Audio: Philip Levine: Poems in the Internet Poetry Archive (9 poems text & audio)
- Philip Levine at YouTube
- Philip Levine reading on September 23, 2004: Blackbird: An Online Journal of Literature and the Arts, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Volume 3, No. 2 (Fall 2004)
- Philip Levine in the Encyclopædia Britannica
- Philip Levine at NNDB.
- Philip Levine (1928- ) at Modern American Poetry.
- Biography of Philip Levine - looking in detail at his politics and his anarchism
- Mona Simpson (Summer 1988). "Philip Levine, The Art of Poetry No. 39". The Paris Review. http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/2512/the-art-of-poetry-no-39-philip-levine.
- Review of Levine's News of the World
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