Read The Simple Truth: Poems by Philip Levine Free Online
Book Title: The Simple Truth: Poems|
The author of the book: Philip Levine
ISBN 13: 9780307559739
Date of issue: August 31st 2011
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 499 KB
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Reader ratings: 3.8
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Brilliant, engaging, human and personal. Levine is one of the greats.
Ask for Nothing
Instead walk alone in the evening
heading out of town toward the fields
asleep under a darkening sky;
the dust risen from your steps transforms
itself into a golden rain fallen
earthward as a gift from no known god.
The plane trees along the canal bank
the few valley poplars, hold their breath
as you cross the wooden bridge that leads
nowhere you haven't been, for this walk
repeats itself once or more a day.
That is why in the distance you see
beyond the first ridge of low hills
where nothing ever grows, men and women
astride mules, on horseback, some even
on foot, all the lost family you
never prayed to see, praying to see you,
chanting and singing to bring the moon
down into the last of the sunlight.
Behind you the windows of the town
blink on and off, the houses close down;
ahead the voices fade like music
over deep water, and then are gone;
even the sudden, tumbling finches
have fled into smoke, and the one road
whitened in moonlight leads everywhere.
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Read information about the authorPhilip Levine (b. January 10, 1928, Detroit, Michigan. d. February 14, 2015, Fresno, California) was 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.
Philip Levine grew up in industrial Detroit, the second of three sons and the first of identical twins of Jewish immigrant parents. His father, Harry Levine owned a used auto parts business, his mother Esther Priscol (Prisckulnick) Levine was a bookseller. When Levine was five years old, his father died. Growing up, he faced the anti-Semitism embodied by the pro-Hitler radio priest Father Coughlin.
Levine started to work in car manufacturing plants at the age of 14. He graduated from Detroit Central High School in 1946 and went to college at Wayne University (now Wayne State University) in Detroit, where he began to write poetry, encouraged by his mother, to whom he later dedicated the book of poems The Mercy. Levine got his A.B. in 1950 and went to work for Chevrolet and Cadillac in what he calls "stupid jobs". He married his first wife Patty Kanterman in 1951. The marriage lasted until 1953. In 1953 he went to the University of Iowa without registering, studying among others with poets Robert Lowell and John Berryman, the latter of which Levine called his "one great mentor". In 1954 he graduated with a mail-order masters degree with a thesis on John Keats' "Ode to Indolence", and married actress Frances J. Artley. He returned to the University of Iowa teaching technical writing, completing his Master of Fine Arts degree in 1957. The same year, he was awarded the Jones Fellowship in Poetry at Stanford University. In 1958 he joined the English Department at California State University in Fresno, where he taught until his retirement in 1992. He has also taught at many other universities, among them New York University as Distinguished Writer-in-Residence, at Columbia, Princeton, Brown, Tufts, and the University of California at Berkeley.
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