Philip Levine

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Philip Levine Biography

a Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet best known for his poems about working-class Detroit. He taught for over thirty years at the English Department of California State University, Fresno and held teaching positions at other universities as well. He is appointed to serve as the Poet Laureate of the United States for 2011–2012.


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Philip Levine Poems

An Abandoned Factory, Detroit

The gates are chained, the barbed-wire fencing stands,
An iron authority against the snow,
And this grey monument to common sense
Resists the weather. Fears of idle hands,

A Sleepless Night

April, and the last of the plum blossoms
scatters on the black grass
before dawn. The sycamore, the lime,
the struck pine inhale

What Work Is

We stand in the rain in a long line
waiting at Ford Highland Park. For work.
You know what work is—if you're
old enough to read this you know what

The Simple Truth

I bought a dollar and a half's worth of small red potatoes,
took them home, boiled them in their jackets
and ate them for dinner with a little butter and salt.
Then I walked through the dried fields


Here in February, the fine
dark branches of the almond
begin to sprout tiny clusters
of leaves, sticky to the touch.

Philip Levine Comments

Jordyn Resoso 03 March 2021

Hello to whoever is reading this. I have recently come upon Mr. Philip Levine, and I to say the least, am impressed. I don't want to seem like a con artist, as I am only experiencing Philips because of a research essay. I

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Greg Bell 16 April 2017

Finally discovered the beauty of Philip Levine's poetry in his poem, 'A Sign.' Quiet, not flashy stuff, but deeply resonant.

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Wes Dixon 28 July 2015

Phillip Levine is not the first author I found just moments after their death. The first was not officially a poet, I guess, but Ayn Rand's work has the same epic aspects. I find Mr. Levine to be more realistic than my own favorite poet Billy Collins. He has the same accessibility...I like accessibility. Sorry I missed him...but then that is also something of a trademark among artists...

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Susan Oneil 07 April 2011

I love his Unholy Saturday and don't see it on your site.Is it that new?

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