My Lost Poets by Philip Levine
A Life in Poetry

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Philip Levine is an astute and honest writer of real charm in this final prose book treating his life and work. It is a rare and worthy sharing by one of our finest contemporary American poets.
-NY Journal of Books

Synopsis

Essays, speeches, and journal entries from one of our most admired and best-loved poets that illuminate how he came to understand himself as a poet, the events and people that he wrote about, and the older poets who influenced him.

In prose both as superbly rendered as his poetry and as down-to-earth and easy as speaking, Levine reveals the things that made him the poet he became. In the title essay, originally the final speech of his poet laureate year, he recounts how as a boy he composed little speeches walking in the night woods near his house and how he later realized these were his first poems. He wittily takes on the poets he studied with in the Iowa Writing Program: John Berryman, who was his great teacher and lifelong friend, and Robert Lowell, who was neither. His deepest influences--jazz, Spain, the working people of Detroit--are reflected in many of the pieces. There are essays on Spanish poets he admires, William Carlos Williams, Wordsworth, Keats, and others. A wonderful, moving collection of writings that add to our knowledge and appreciation of Philip Levine--both the man and the poet.
 

About Philip Levine

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Philip Levine was born in 1928 in Detroit, where he was formally educated in the public schools and at Wayne University (now Wayne State University). After a succession of industrial jobs, he left the country before settling in Fresno, California, where he taught at the university there until his retirement. He has received many awards for his books of poems, most recently the National Book Award in 1991 for What Work Is, and the Pulitzer Prize in 1995 for The Simple Truth.
 
Published November 8, 2016 by Knopf. 224 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for My Lost Poets
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Kirkus

Above average
on Sep 17 2016

Levine also speaks lovingly of his “mentor and friend” George Hitchcock and his seminal literary magazine, kayak,” and his piece on little-known Roberta Spear, who died young, will have readers rushing to her work. Like his poetry, Levine’s essays are generous, honest, and real.

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NY Journal of Books

Excellent
Reviewed by Larry Smith on Nov 09 2016

Philip Levine is an astute and honest writer of real charm in this final prose book treating his life and work. It is a rare and worthy sharing by one of our finest contemporary American poets.

Read Full Review of My Lost Poets: A Life in Poetry | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books
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