The Mercy by Philip Levine
Poems

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Synopsis

Philip Levine's new collection of poems (his first since The Simple Truth was awarded the Pulitzer Prize) is a book of journeys: the necessary ones that each of us takes from innocence to experience, from youth to age, from confusion to clarity, from sanity to madness and back again, from life to death, and occasionally from defeat to triumph. The book's mood is best captured in the closing lines of the title poem, which takes its name from the ship that brought the poet's mother to America: A nine-year-old girl travels all night by train with one suitcase and an orange. She learns that mercy is something you can eat again and again while the juice spills over your chin, you can wipe it away with the back of your hands and you can never get enough.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

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 September 7, 2011 by Knopf. 94 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Publishers Weekly

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Work was something that thrived on fire, that without/ fire couldn't catch its breath or hang on for life, Levine recalls of the working-class Detroit of his childhood. This 18th collection contin

Mar 01 1999 | Read Full Review of The Mercy: Poems

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