Philip Levine’s New Selected Poems replaces Selected Poems (1984) by adding to it a generous choice of major work from each of the two volumes that followed it: Sweet Will (1985) and A Walk With Tom Jefferson (1988).
|Publisher:||Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
|Edition description:||First Edition|
|Product dimensions:||5.87(w) x 8.96(h) x 0.87(d)|
About the Author
Philip Levine was born in 1928 in Detroit and was formally educated there, at the public schools and at Wayne University (now Wayne State University). After a succession of industrial jobs he left the city for good and lived in various parts of the country before settling in Fresno, California, where he taught at the University until his retirement. He received many awards for his books of poems, including the National Book Award in 1991 for What Work Is, and the Pulitzer Prize in 1995 for The Simple Truth. He died in February 2015.
Date of Birth:January 10, 1928
Place of Birth:Detroit, Michigan
Education:B.A., Wayne State University; M.F.A., Iowa Writers Workshop, University of Iowa
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
New Selected Poems based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
A great among the many!
I came to this collection completely unfamiliar with Levine's work, but intrigued by his reputation as the contemporary poet who best captures the experience of the American working class. After reading this volume, I think the reputation is well-deserved. I've never read anything that better captured the numbing heartbreak of being stuck in work that is beyond the ability of any individual to control and make meaningful, and the stubborn resolve to somehow find real beauty and meaning in life. I found myself thinking of this as a poetic explication of Camus's depiction of the redemptive absurdity of modern man in the Myth of Sisyphus. That said, it took me a while to warm up to these poems. As with most such collections, the poems are arranged in chronological order grouped according to the books they originally appeared in. My method of reading a book of poetry is to go through the book from beginning to end, dogearing pages with poems or passages that I found particularly effective and know I will want to re-visit. The first 120 pages are virtually uncreased, and it took me literally months of on-again off-again reading to get through them. But beginning with the poems gathered from The Names of the Lost virtually every page is dog-eared, sometimes top and bottom. Every poem seemed to open up a breathtaking world of heartbreak, endurance and occasional redemption. I don't know whether this is because his later poems are dramatically different in quality, or if his vision just clicked for me at that point. But I look forward to going back in this collection to find out, and reading the work that Levine has published since this came out.