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Philip Levine: Online Resources

Created by Peter Armenti, Digital Reference Specialist

Philip Levine, U.S. Poet Laureate
Philip Levine
U.S. Poet Laureate, 2011-2012
Photograph © Geoffrey Berliner

On August 10, 2011, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced the appointment of Philip Levine as the 18th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry. In a statement announcing the appointment, Dr. Billington said:

Philip Levine is one of America’s great narrative poets. His plainspoken lyricism has, for half a century, championed the art of telling ‘The Simple Truth’—about working in a Detroit auto factory, as he has, and about the hard work we do to make sense of our lives.

As Poet Laureate, Levine opened the Library's Fall 2011 literary season, closed the Spring 2012 literary season, and selected the 2012 Witter Bynner Fellows. Levine also partook in a May 4, 2012 videoconference, streamed live on the Internet, with ten sites—five high schools, four public libraries, and one retirement community—located around the country. The program, titled “Behind the Scenes with the Poet Laureate,” featured Levine reading and discussing three of his poems, followed by a live question and answer session with participating institutions.

Philip Levine ended his term as Poet Laureate on May 3, 2012.

This guide compiles links to resources on Philip Levine throughout the Library of Congress Web site, as well as links to external Web sites that include features on his life or selections of his work. To suggest additions to this guide, please contact the Digital Reference Section.

WATCH: Philip Levine Closes the Library's Spring Literary Season, May 3, 2012


Library of Congress Web Site
   •Selected Press Releases, Articles, Blog Posts
   •Audio and Video
   •Print Resources
External Web Sites
   •Biographical Information, Poetry
   •Interviews, Articles, and Conversations
   •Audio Recordings
   •Articles and Essays by Philip Levine
   •Teaching and Study Resources
   •Book Reviews
   •Philip Levine in the News

Library of Congress Web Site

Selected Press Releases, Articles, Blog Posts

Poetry and Literature Center Biography of Philip Levine

"To Phil"
From the Catbird Seat blog, February 16, 2015

"Poet in Motion: Levine Discusses his Tenure as Laureate, the State of his Craft"
From the Catbird Seat blog, April 6, 2012

"Philip Levine to Give Inaugural Reading as U.S. Poet Laureate on Oct. 17"
Press Release, September 20, 2011

Official press release announcing Philip Levine's appointment as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry
August 10, 2011

"A Paycheck, and a Gut-Check"
Library of Congress Blog, August 10, 2011

"Smorgasbord of Verse: Poets Levine, Turpin, Sklarew and Gewanter Read at LC in November"
Library of Congress Information Bulletin, January 1998

Audio and Video

Philip Levine: 2012 National Book Festival
September 22, 2012

"Behind the Scenes with the Poet Laureate"
May 4, 2012

Philip Levine Closes the Literary Season
May 3, 2012

"An Evening with Philip Levine, U.S. Poet Laureate"
Los Angeles Public Library, February 23, 2012

Philip Levine Gives Inaugural Reading as U.S. Poet Laureate
October 17, 2011

Poetry of Levine & Kendrick
May 24, 2007

Poet and the Poem interview
October 2011

Mark Turpin and Philip Levine Reading Their Poems in the Mumford Room, Library of Congress, Nov. 20, 1997 (1:15:24)
November 20, 1997

Print Resources

Works by Philip Levine in the Library of Congress online catalog can be found under the following author heading:

Levine, Philip, 1928-

Works about Philip Levine in the Library of Congress online catalog can be found under the following subject headings:

Levine, Philip, 1928-
Levine, Philip, 1928- --Criticism and interpretation.
Levine, Philip, 1928- --Interviews.
Levine, Philip, 1928- --Musical settings.

Link disclaimerExternal Web Sites

Biographical Information, Poetry

Academy of American Poets
Biography of Philip Levine, samples of his poetry and prose, and links to external resources.

Blue Flower Arts
Biography of Philip Levine.

Contemporary American Poetry Archive
Makes available poems from Philip Levine's books Ashes: Poems New and Old, On the Edge, Sweet Will, and A Walk with Tom Jefferson.

Philip Levine in The New Yorker
A selection of materials by and about Levine that appeared in The New Yorker.

The Poetry Archive
Brief biography and commentary on Levine, along with audio recordings of five poems.

Poetry Foundation
Biography of Philip Levine, more than 80 full-text poems, and audio video recordings of Levine reading and discussing his poetry.

The Writer's Almanac
Full-text of more than 15 poems. Poems from January 10, 2002 to present include links to audio recordings by Garrison Keillor.

Interviews, Articles, and Conversations

"Remembering, Honoring Poet Laureate Levine"
Fresno State News, September 20, 2017

"On Philip Levine, the Workingman’s Poet"
Tablet, September 1, 2017

"Philip Levine Obituary"
The Guardian, March 1, 2015

"Remembering Former Poet Laureate Philip Levine"
The Conversation, February 24, 2014

"My Lost Poet: Anger and Tenderness in Philip Levine"
The Paris Review, February 23, 2015

"What 'What Work Is' Is: The Importance of Philip Levine"
Samizdat blog, February 21, 2015

"At 87, Poet Laureate Philip Levine Jazzed It Up"
KQED, NPR, February 20, 2015

"Celebrating Hard Work, Working People and Philip Levine"
The Fresno Bee, February 18, 2015

"Philip Levine, U.S. Poet Laureate Who Wrote of Working Life, Dies at 87"
The Washington Post, February 17, 2015

"Philip Levine, The 'Walt Whitman' of Industrial Detroit"
The Detroit News, February 17, 2015

"Philip Levine, a Poet of Grit, Sweat and Labor, Dies at 87"
The New York Times, February 15, 2015

"An Appraisal: The Poet Philip Levine, an Outsider Archiving the Forgotten"
The New York Times, February 15, 2015

"Philip Levine, 1928–2015"
The Daily blog, The Paris Review, February 15, 2015

"Watch Philip Levine Recite, Discuss Packard Poem"
Detroit Free Press, February 15, 2015

"Former Poet Laureate Philip Levine, a Champion of the Working Class, Dies at 87"
Bookmarks blog, San Francisco Chronicle, February 15, 2015

"Poet Laureate Philip Levine"
American Libraries, November 12, 2011

"Poet Laureate Chafes at Working Class Label"
Burlington Free Press, September 21, 2011

"For the Poet Laureate, the Joy of Tennis Is in the Effort"
Straight Sets: Tennis Blog of The New York Times, September 10, 2011

"Our New Poet Laureate: Philip Levine"
Capital Commentary, August 26, 2011

"The Courage of Philip Levine"
CounterPunch, August 26, 2011

"Poet Laureate Philip Levine Reads to Rapt Audience at Bread Loaf"
Burlington Free Press, August 20, 2011

"David Kipen on Poet Laureate Philip Levine" (07:27)
The Madeleine Brand Show, August 17, 2011

"Philip Levine, Poet of Drudgery"
More Intelligent Life, August 15, 2011

"Stuart Leavenworth: Valley Molds a Poet Laureate Ready to Speak Truth to Power"
The Sacramento Bee, August 14, 2011

"Philip Levine's Factory Stiffs, Society's Throw-Aways"
The Huffington Post, August 11, 2011

"Philip Levine: The "Proletariat Poet'"
The Christian Science Monitor, August 11, 2011

How a Poet Laureate Flows (Whatever He Calls It)
Creating in Flow blog, Psychology Today, August 10, 2011

"New Poet Laureate Philip Levine on How He Writes"
Psychology Today, August 10, 2011

"Making Rare Appearance: People and Their Appetites" (subscription required)
The New York Times, August 9, 2011

"Voice of the Workingman to Be Poet Laureate" (subscription required)
The New York Times, August 9, 2011

"Profile of Philip Levine, Poet Laureate" (subscription required)
The Washington Post, August 9, 2011

"A Conversation with Philip Levine"
The Daily of the University of Washington, April 21, 2011

"Philip Levine – 'Our Questions for Phil'"
The Cortland Review, Winter 2009

"An Interview with Poet Philip Levine"
Poets & Writers, March 10, 2008

"An Interview with Philip Levine"
Fresno Famous, January 29, 2007

"Q. & A.: Working Poets"
The New Yorker, October 30, 2006

"Blue Collar and Academic Meet in the Poetry of Philip Levine", March 4, 2004

"Interview with Philip Levine"
The Pedestal Magazine no. 17, August-October 2003

Interview with Philip Levine, August 2001

"Interview with Philip Levine"
The Cortland Review, May 1999

"A Useful Poetry: An Interview with Philip Levine"
The Atlantic Online, April 8, 1999

"The Unwritten Biography: Philip Levine and Edward Hirsch in Conversation"
Academy of American Poets, 1999

"The Poet of the Night Shift"
Los Angeles Times, December 28, 1994

Interview with Philip Levine
Wild Duck Review, 1994

"Interview with Philip Levine"
National Book Foundation, ca. 1992

"Philip Levine"
"The Art of Poetry No. 39," The Paris Review, Issue 107 (Summer 1988)

Audio Recordings

Radio Programs

"Fresh Air Remembers Former U.S. Poet Laureate Philip Levine" (19:46)
Frech Air, NPR, February 20, 2015

"Philip Levine, Who Found Poetry On Detroit's Assembly Lines, Dies At 87" (04:48)
Morning Edition, NPR, February 15, 2015

"Shifting Gears" - Phalana Tiller Interviews Philip Levine (MP3, 21.7 MB; 23:13)
Drucker on the Dial, October 14, 2011

"Poet Laureate Philip Levine Gives A Voice To Workers" (20:21)
Here & Now, WBUG, September 5, 2011

"An Interview with Philip Levine" (23:52)
Valley Edition, Valley Public Radio, August 16, 2011

"Talking With New Poet Laureate Philip Levine, Part Two" (07:27)
The Takeaway, August 16, 2011

"Philip Levine Named as New Poet Laureate" (08:17)
The Takeaway, August 15, 2011

"New Poet Laureate Philip Levine's 'Absolute Truth'" (04:28)
All Things Considered, NPR, August 14, 2011

"Poet Laureate Philip Levine Reads From His 'Work'" (06:22)
Fresh Air, NPR, August 12, 2011

"Poet Laureate Philip Levine" (05:06)
The California Report, August 11, 2011

Philip Levine reads "Mingus at the Half Note" (04:10)
WNYC, August 10, 2011

"A Working Man's Poet" (05:11)
American Public Radio, April 20, 2009

"Philip Levine" (28:29)
Bookworm, KCRW, January 4, 2007

"A Reading of 'Ode to Salt'" (02:30)
All Things Considered, NPR, December 3, 2005

"Levine's Lifelong Ode to the Working Class" (07:12)
All Things Considered, NPR, January 15, 2005

Other Audio

"A Reading by Philip Levine"
Blackbird, September 23, 2010

"Philip Levine's Journeys" (44:53) (direct link)
The Poetry Channel, Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, 2009

"Conversation: Kimiko Hahn with Philip Levine" (07:29)
Brooklyn Book Festival, September 2008

"Philip Levine on His 80th Birthday"
One Poet's Notes, January 10, 2008

Philip Levine: Essential American Poets
Poetry Foundation, September 13, 2007

"A Reading by Philip Levine"
Blackbird, March 16, 2004

"Philip Levine with Kate Daniels" (1:21:47)
Lannan Foundation, March 19, 2003

"Philip Levine: The Language of the Place" (31:55)
92 Y Podcast, November 12, 2001

Philip Levine & Sam Hamill Reading (1:27:22)
Iowa Digital Library, The University of Iowa Libraries, April 2, 1984

"Philip Levine: November 24, 1958"
The Poetry Center (San Francisco), November 24, 1958

Academy of American Poets

"A New Day"
"M. Degas Teaches Art & Science at Durfee Intermediate School, Detroit 1942"

The City College of New York
Includes several podcasts of Levine reading his poems and remembering the poet William Matthews

The Cortland Review
Recordings of "Distant February," "The Privilege of Power, 1965," and "Assembly"

Internet Poetry Archive
Recordings of eight poems

Poetry Foundation
Select "Poems, Articles, & More" to find audio and video recordings of Levine.

Slate Magazine Recordings

"The Island"
"Living in Music"
"Our Reds"


"Poetry: From Pulitzer to Performance" (57:25; Levine's introduction begins at 30:35)
UWTV, June 27, 2011

"Poet Philip Levine Recalls Life at the Factory" (06:12)
PBS NewsHour, January 12, 2010. Part of Levine's Poetry Series profile.

"Philip Levine - Poets in Person"
The Cortland Review, Winter 2009

"American Roots: Victor Hernandez Cruz, Joy Harjo, Phillip Levine" (28:00)
Writers Uncensored series, Deep Dish TV, 1991

"Belle Isle, 1949" (02:02)
Poetry Everywhere

Search results for Philip Levine

Articles and Essays by Philip Levine

"A Day in May: Los Angeles, 1960"
Poetry Daily (originally published in The Georgia Review, Spring 2005)

"Philip Levine on Charles Wright's Chickamauga"
Academy of American Poets, 1996

"Overhand the Hammers Swing: Poems of Work"
Academy of American Poets

Teaching and Study Resources

"Found Poetry Prompt: Philip Levine"
The Found Poetry Review, August 21, 2011

"Levine, Philip - Introduction"
Poetry Criticism, v. 22, 1999 (via

"Levine, Philip (Vol. 118) - Introduction"
Contemporary Literary Criticism, v. 118, 1999 (via

Modern American Poetry
Includes biographical information and scholarly criticism of five Levine poems.

"Poetry Pairing | Celebrating Philip Levine"
The Learning Network Blog, The New York Times, August 11, 2011

"Silence Amidst the Crowd: A Reading of Philip Levine's 'The Simple Truth' and 'Call It Music'"
The Academy of American Poets

"They Know 'What Work Is': Working Class Individuals in the Poetry of Philip Levine"
Rumiano, Jeffrey Edmond. Dissertation, Georgia State University English Department, 2007.

Book Reviews

The Last Shift (2016)

New York Journal of Books

San Francisco Chronicle

The Washington Post

My Lost Poets (2016)

The Boston Globe

New York Journal of Books

San Francisco Chronicle

News of the World (2009)

The Adirondack Review

Books & Culture

FIELD: Contemporary Poetry and Poetics (via Poetry Daily)

THEthe Poetry blog

Breath: Poems (2004)

Review by Edward Byrne

San Francisco Chronicle

The Mercy: Poems (1999)

The Atlantic

The Progressive

Valparaiso Poetry Review

The Simple Truth (1994)

San Francisco Chronicle

The Bread of Time: Toward an Autobiography (1994)

Los Angeles Times

Review by Dana Gioia

Philip Levine in the News

Google News search on Philip Levine

Twitter search on Philip Levine

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