Mourning Philip Levine by Brian Morton

Philip Levine: US poet laureate who explored with rage and sadness the working lives of the American people

 First anger, then irony, then tenderness, and then finally love: those were the successive growths of Philip Levine’s poetic emotion – and in the evolution of his one great subject, which was the lives of American working men and women. In a sense, all of these feelings, with the exception of irony, which is a learned literary technique, were in place from the beginning and remained so until the end. Even in his last years, Levine could still express rage at what had happened to his once-vital native city and its people.

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