Books & Writing

Philip Levine

August 20, 2011

Plato once said “at the touch of love, everyone becomes a poet”. I often use this quote in conversation when I meet people who ask me ‘how do you write poetry’? My response is always, just live!

There’s no better way to approach art other than to live your ordinary life full out. Every day artistic things are happening as the sun melts into the sky, as a child learns to balance on their own feet, as breeze comes to wisp away a few fallen leaves. There is art in every thing! I thought of this as I read an article in the New York Times which revealed Mr. Philip Levine as the new Poet Laureate of the United States of America. Every poet drools at the term ‘Poet Laureate’ because it’s a position that’s given by the United States Library of Congress and it’s the highest recognized position for a poet in our country.

Philip Levine comes from Detroit and his writing reflects the working class, blue collar American. His poetry is flavorful, fresh, and astoundingly normal. Yes his voice brings forth a quality of poetry that is indeed extraordinary and I do not want to diminish that by any means but Mr. Levine wasn’t hailed from the astute realm of Ivy League schools or the affluent upper class. He is what most of us are: workers, laborers. The objects and subjects of his poetry are tangible to many people that grew up or around manufacturing cities and from the vantage point of his poetry we relive the experiences of working America.

Mr. Philip Levine reminds us that the every day person, the worker, the teacher, the painter, the artist, and the writer that has shaped America. We are the eyes, the pulse, the beat that shapes so much of our social environment. We all can become writers/artists when we stop long enough to live!


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