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Philip Levine Biography

(1928– ), On the Edge, Silent in America: Vivas for Those Who Failed, Not This Pig

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Mary Lavin Biography to Light Shining in Buckinghamshire

American poet, born in Detroit, educated at Wayne State University and at the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa. Levine was awarded a Fellowship in Poetry at Standford University in 1958. His books include On the Edge (1961), Silent in America: Vivas for Those Who Failed (1965), Not This Pig (1968), Red Dust (1971), Pili's Wall (1971), They Feed They Lion (1972), 1933 (1974), The Names of the Lost (1976), Ashes: Poems Old & New (1979), 7 Years from Somewhere (1979), One for the Rose (1981), Selected Poems (1983), Sweet Will (1985), A Walk with Tom Jefferson (1988), New Selected Poems (1991), and What Work Is (1992). In 1985 he published Off the Map: Selected Poems by Gloria Fuertes, which he edited and translated with Ada Long. A child of the Depression years who grew up with the social deprivation of the cities and townships of the MidWest, Levine's poetry speaks for and about the marginalized and dispossessed, and those who stand defiantly beyond the social spectrum. In narrating these lives Levine uses the idioms of common speech, catching the verbal and experiential poverty of his subjects in a vocabulary of vigorous simplicity; but he also possesses an inventive power, especially evident in the incantatory rhythms of his most celebrated collection, They Feed They Lion.

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