Philip Levine - Quotes

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Now I think poetry will save nothing from oblivion, but I keep writing about the ordinary because for me it's the home of the extraordinary, the only home.

Now I think poetry will save nothing from oblivion, but I keep writing about the ordinary because for me it's the home of the extraordinary, the only home.

I listen to jazz about three hours a day. I love Louis Armstrong. ---->>>

No one can write like Vallejo and not sound like a fraud. He's just too much himself and not you. ---->>>

It's ironic that while I was a worker in Detroit, which I left when I was twenty six, my sense was that the thing that's going to stop me from being a poet is the fact that I'm doing this crummy work. ---->>>

I'm saying look, here they come, pay attention. Let your eyes transform what appears ordinary, commonplace, into what it is, a moment in time, an observed fragment of eternity. ---->>>

For sure I once thought of myself as the poet who would save the ordinary from oblivion. ---->>>

I write what's given me to write. ---->>>

My mother carried on and supported us; her ambition had been to write poetry and songs. ---->>>

If that voice that you created that is most alive in the poem isn't carried throughout the whole poem, then I destroy where it's not there, and I reconstruct it so that that voice is the dominant voice in the poem. ---->>>

I'm afraid we live at the mercy of a power, maybe a God, without mercy. And yet we find it, as I have, from others. ---->>>

Meet some people who care about poetry the way you do. You'll have that readership. Keep going until you know you're doing work that's worthy. And then see what happens. That's my advice. ---->>>

My sense of a poem - my notion of how you revise - is: you get yourself into a state where what you are intensely conscious of is not why you wrote it or how you wrote it, but what you wrote. ---->>>

I realized poetry's the thing that I can do 'cause I can stick at it and work with tremendous intensity. ---->>>

The irony is, going to work every day became the subject of probably my best poetry. ---->>>

There'll always be working people in my poems because I grew up with them, and I am a poet of memory.

There'll always be working people in my poems because I grew up with them, and I am a poet of memory.

Back then, I couldn't have left a poem a year and gone back to it. ---->>>

But I'm too old to be written about as a young poet. ---->>>

I have a sense that many Americans, especially those like me with European or foreign parents, feel they have to invent their families just as they have to invent themselves. ---->>>

But most commonly, it's one poem that I work on with a lot of intensity. ---->>>

I started listening to music when I wrote when I had three sons at home. ---->>>

I was very lucky to have a mother who encouraged me to become a poet. ---->>>

I'm seventy-one now, so it's hard to imagine a dramatic change. ---->>>

My father died when I was five, but I grew up in a strong family. ---->>>

My temperament is not geared to that of a novelist. ---->>>

Biography

Nationality: American
Born: 01-10, 1928
Birthplace:
Die: 02-14, 2015
Occupation: Poet
Website:

Philip Levine (January 10, 1928 – February 14, 2015) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet best known for his poems about working-class Detroit. He taught for more than thirty years in the English department of California State University, Fresno and held teaching positions at other universities as well (wikipedia)