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U.S. Poet Laureate Philip Levine

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09/24/2011

Philip Levine “is a large, iconic Whitman of the industrial heartland” who, according to Edward Hirsch in the New York Times Book Review, should be considered “one of [America's]…quintessentially urban poets.” He was born in 1928 to Russian-Jewish immigrants in Detroit, a city that inspired much of his writing. Author of 20 collections of poetry, his most recent is News of The World (2009). The Simple Truth won the Pulitzer Prize in 1995. What Work Is won the National Book Award in 1991. David Baker writes, “What Work Is may be one of the most important books of poetry of our time. Poem after poem confronts the terribly damaged conditions of American labor, whose circumstance has perhaps never been more wrecked.” Levine is known as the poet of the working class and he remains dedicated to writing poetry “for people for whom there is no poetry.” As well as having received two National Book Awards, Levine is the recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Ruth Lily prize. He divides his time between Brooklyn, NY & Fresno, CA. The Library of Congress recently appointed Philip the new Poet Laureate of the United States.