A superb new collection from “a great American poet . . . still at work on his almost-song of himself” (The New York Times Book Review).
In both lively prose poems and more formal verse, Philip Levine brings us news from everywhere: from Detroit, where exhausted workers try to find a decent breakfast after the late shift, and Henry Ford, “supremely bored” in his mansion, clocks in at one of his plants . . . from Spain, where a woman sings a song that rises at dawn, like the dust of ages, through an open window . . . from Andorra, where an old Communist can now supply you with anything you want—a French radio, a Cadillac, or, if you have a week, an American film star.
The world of his poetry is one of questionable magic: a typist lives for her only son who will die in a war to come; three boys fish in a river while a fine industrial residue falls on their shoulders. This is a haunted world in which exotic animals travel first class, an immigrant worker in Detroit yearns for the silence of his Siberian exile, and the Western mountains “maintain that huge silence we think of as divine.”
A rich, deeply felt collection from one of our master poets.
Philip Levine is the author of sixteen collections of poems and two books of essays. He has received many awards for his poetry, including the National Book Award in 1980 for Ashes and again in 1991 for What Work Is, and the Pulitzer Prize in 1995 for The Simple Truth. He divides his time between Brooklyn, New York, and Fresno, California.
Philip Levine’s The Mercy, New Selected Poems, The Simple Truth, and What Work Is are available in Knopf paperback.
Meet the poet on his book tour.