Breath Always a poet of memory and invention Philip Levine looks back at his own life as well as the adventures of his ancestors his relatives and his friends and at their rites of passage into an Americ

  • Title: Breath
  • Author: Philip Levine
  • ISBN: 9780375710780
  • Page: 136
  • Format: Paperback
  • Always a poet of memory and invention, Philip Levine looks back at his own life as well as the adventures of his ancestors, his relatives, and his friends, and at their rites of passage into an America of victories and betrayals He transports us back to the street where he was born early in the final industrial century to help us envision an America he s known from theAlways a poet of memory and invention, Philip Levine looks back at his own life as well as the adventures of his ancestors, his relatives, and his friends, and at their rites of passage into an America of victories and betrayals He transports us back to the street where he was born early in the final industrial century to help us envision an America he s known from the 1930s to the present His subjects include his brothers, a great uncle who gave up on America and returned to czarist Russia, a father who survived unspeakable losses, the artists and musicians who inspired him, and fellow workers at the factory who shared the best and worst of his coming of age Throughout the collection Levine rejoices in song Dinah Washington wailing from a jukebox in midtown Manhattan Della Daubien hymning on the crosstown streetcar Max Roach and Clifford Brown at a forgotten Detroit jazz palace the prayers offered to God by an immigrant uncle dreaming of the Judean hills the hoarse notes of a factory worker who, completing another late shift, serenades the sleeping streets Like all of Levine s poems, these are a testament to the durability of love, the strength of the human spirit, the persistence of life in the presence of the coming dark.

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    About “Philip Levine

    • Philip Levine

      Philip Levine b January 10, 1928, Detroit, Michigan d February 14, 2015, Fresno, California was a Pulitzer Prize winning American poet best known for his poems about working class Detroit He taught for over thirty years at the English Department of California State University, Fresno and held teaching positions at other universities as well He is appointed to serve as the Poet Laureate of the United States for 2011 2012.Philip Levine grew up in industrial Detroit, the second of three sons and the first of identical twins of Jewish immigrant parents His father, Harry Levine owned a used auto parts business, his mother Esther Priscol Prisckulnick Levine was a bookseller When Levine was five years old, his father died Growing up, he faced the anti Semitism embodied by the pro Hitler radio priest Father Coughlin.Levine started to work in car manufacturing plants at the age of 14 He graduated from Detroit Central High School in 1946 and went to college at Wayne University now Wayne State University in Detroit, where he began to write poetry, encouraged by his mother, to whom he later dedicated the book of poems The Mercy Levine got his A.B in 1950 and went to work for Chevrolet and Cadillac in what he calls stupid jobs He married his first wife Patty Kanterman in 1951 The marriage lasted until 1953 In 1953 he went to the University of Iowa without registering, studying among others with poets Robert Lowell and John Berryman, the latter of which Levine called his one great mentor In 1954 he graduated with a mail order masters degree with a thesis on John Keats Ode to Indolence , and married actress Frances J Artley He returned to the University of Iowa teaching technical writing, completing his Master of Fine Arts degree in 1957 The same year, he was awarded the Jones Fellowship in Poetry at Stanford University In 1958 he joined the English Department at California State University in Fresno, where he taught until his retirement in 1992 He has also taught at many other universities, among them New York University as Distinguished Writer in Residence, at Columbia, Princeton, Brown, Tufts, and the University of California at Berkeley.

    555 thoughts on “Breath

    • In the poetry collection titled “Breath,” published in 2004 in New York by Alfred A. Knopf, Philip Levine writes about people he remembers from his past with straightforward lyrical and elegiac lines. The collection includes thirty-one poems divided into four chapters. Some major themes within the poetry collection are death, the power of loss, loneliness, hope, as well as compassion, particularly for life. Recurring motifs throughout his poems are people who are now dead, plants native to p [...]

    • I discovered Phillip Levine's poetry when he died. My friend, Ruth Bavetta, posted one of his poems and I knew that I should read more. I bought this collection, his last I believe, and have been parceling them out to myself since February. Initially, I loved the references to Michigan, where I live, but grew to appreciate so much more than that. I find myself reading lines over and over again that evoke the whole range of the human condition. I think Levine's poetry is going to be with me for a [...]

    • I love Philip Levine's work for its seamless flow which sets up a line or thought that stabs right at something you feel is important. The poems in breath make reference to Machado, music, but also, breath as the language of the wind.

    • The mood here is elegiac -- Levine writes out past his 70th birthday. The great questions loom. The opening poem, "Gospel" sets the theme of treasuring each breath,of being awareThe pines makea music like no other, riding andfalling like a distant surf at nightthat calms the darkness beforefirst light. "Soughing" we call it, fromOld English, no less. How weightlesswords are when nothing will do.For most of the work the Eternal stays off stage. Levine longs for it"that the breath batteringmy ears [...]

    • Levine has quickly become maybe my favorite living poet. This is my fourth or fifth collection of his this year, and that may have a lot to do with the low rating, but I just did not feel this book much at all. The poems weren't very well organized. I felt like I was jumping back and forth in time randomly. The subjects of Levine's poems are often working class Detroit folk, and I usually enjoy this character of his poetry, but many of those captured moments in these poems just felt kind of flat [...]

    • So my knowledge of poetry is even more limited than my knowledge of fiction, but I've been drawn to it more and more lately. Philip Levine is a big reason for that. I picked this book up while visiting a friend in NYC, and even though I've read it a couple of times, I still carry it around with me regularly. I connected with "Gospel" in such a visceral way that I could swear we walked the same path as he describes. Additionally, the urban landscapes he draws are so familiar, so vivid, that I fee [...]

    • I love Philip Levine. He writes beautifully about ordinary people. In this collection he takes us back to the Detroit of his youth and the people who populated it. There are many elegaic poems. I always enjoy his humor and that is in great display in the poem "Our Reds." Levine also opines about the jazz music of the 50s. Any poem that honors Clifford Brown is a masterpiece as far as I'm concerned.

    • I wanted to get to know our new poet laureate so I grabbed this book at random, and boy was I glad! I jumped around a bit, but loved the lyricism and voice. Will definitely dig a little deeper into Philip Levine.

    • Nice work, a collection of mostly everyday routine actions and thoughts with great incisive observations, sharp lines that bit and made me smile.

    • He is a wonderful poet but seems to be more interested in his real or imaginary past, ie from birth to 25 than anything else. Theme and variations but very well done.

    • my favorite poem is what work is and its not in here *sad face* but at least I got to meet him and he signed my book!

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