Philip Levine Has Died

By Maryann Yin Comment

Philip LevinePhilip Levine has died. He was 87 years old.

According to, Levine served as the United States poet laureate from 2011 to 2012. He also devoted more than three decades of his life to teaching at California State University (Fresno). Throughout his career, he earned a Pulitzer Prize and two National Book Awards. Follow this link to hear him recite his poem, “What Work Is.”

Here’s more from The New York Times: “In spare, realistic free verse, Mr. Levine explored the subjects that had long animated his work: his gritty Detroit childhood; the soul-numbing factory jobs he held as a youth; Spain, where he lived for some time as an adult; and the Spanish anarchists of the 1930s, a personal passion since he was a boy. Mr. Levine in 1995, after learning that ‘The Simple Truth’ had won the Pulitzer. These were themes with which few American poets were concerning themselves when his first collection, On the Edge, appeared in 1961. ‘A large, ironic Whitman of the industrial heartland’ is how the poet Edward Hirsch, writing in The New York Times Book Review, described Mr. Levine in 1984.” (Photo Credit: Geoffrey Berliner)