As you’re likely aware, US Poet Laureate (2011-2012) Philip Levine passed away Saturday, February 14. There have been innumerable articles and tributes to him this past week. We’d like to share some of our favorites here with the aim of celebrating Levine’s work, career, and contributions to poetry.
A native of Detroit, Levine was once deemed the “ironic Whitman of the industrial heartland” by Edward Hirsch. Over the course of his career, he received the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, a Guggenheim fellowship, and many other honors. He published twenty-one poetry collections and taught for more than thirty years at California State University, Fresno.
From Poetry: “A Woman Waking”
From the Academy of American Poets: “Drum”
From The New York Times: “What Work Is,” “Fear and Fame,” “Belle Isle, 1949,” and “Salt and Oil”
From The New Yorker: “In Another Country”
As Poet Laureate
His inaugural reading:
With Poets in Person by The Cortland Review:
At the AFL-CIO:
From the Web
First: Levine’s New York Times obituary, a detailed portrait of the poet and his life.
NPR’s Fresh Air remembered Levine with clips from archived broadcasts. You can listen here.
Matt Schudel of The Washington Post paid tribute to Levine’s working class aesthetic and person-driven verse. David Post from the same publication shared this brief personal note about his relationship to Levine’s work along with two of his favorite poems.
The Detroit News reflected on Levine’s continued connection to the city.
The Fresno Bee honored Levine as a member and key contributor to their community.
The Guardian told Levine’s story with humor and insight.
The Paris Review meditated on what Levine’s loss means to the literary community.
Slate shared an excerpt from Levine’s final lecture as US Poet Laureate.
What did Philip Levine’s work mean to you? Do you have a favorite poem? An anecdote? Please share it with us and our readers in the comments!
About the Author: Julia Patt
Julia Patt, Contributing Editor, from Chestertown, MD, is a graduate of Sweet Briar College and the MFA program at the University of North Carolina Greensboro, where she was a fiction editor for The Greensboro Review. Her young adult novels—i was a fourth grade zombie slayer and Through Waterless Places—were both shortlisted for Mslexia’s 2012 Children’s Novel Competition, and her short fiction has appeared in publications such as Surreal South ’11, Stymie, and PANK.