Well one good thing to come out of the Obama administration is the appointment of Phillip Levine to be the next United States Poet Laureate, I’ve spent my life collecting his poetry and any interviews and readings that I could find so I’me delighted with this news. He’s one of a dying breed, a poet of the people, his poems are mostly devoted to the common man doing hard physical work. Here’s a short piece honoring him from today’s radio plus here’s a nice video of him in New York city.

It’s nice to have the opportunity to honor an old timer without having to write an obituary.

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3 thoughts on “PHILLIP LEVINE

  1. Good call Obama and good post GF

    Here’s one I used for my ecopsychology course:

    Animals Are Passing from Our Lives

    it’s wonderful how I jog
    on four honed-down ivory toes
    my massive buttocks slipping
    like oiled parts with each light step.

    I’m to market. I can smell
    the sour, grooved block, I can smell
    the blade that opens the hole
    and the pudgy white fingers

    that shake out the intestines
    like a hankie. In my dreams
    the snouts drool on the marble,
    suffering children, suffering flies,

    suffering the consumers
    who won’t meet their steady eyes
    for fear they could see. The boy
    who drives me along believes

    that any moment I’ll fall
    on my side and drum my toes
    like a typewriter or squeal
    and shit like a new housewife

    discovering television,
    or that I’ll turn like a beast
    cleverly to hook his teeth
    with my teeth. No. Not this pig.

  2. What a lovely man. Well deserved. I loved hearing What Work Is read by him.

    Premonition At Twilight

    The magpie in the Joshua tree
    Has come to rest. Darkness collects,
    And what I cannot hear or see,
    Broken limbs, the curious bird,
    Become in darkness darkness too.
    I had been going when I heard
    The sound of something called the night;
    I had been going but I stopped
    To see the bird restrain his flight.
    The bird in place, the shadows dropped
    As if they waited in the light
    Before I came for centuries
    For something I could never see;
    And what it was became itself,
    And then the bird, and then the tree;
    And then the force behind the breeze
    Became at last the whole of me.

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