Proletariat Professor Named New American Poet Laureate

M. Catharine Evans
Philip Levine didn't think he'd ever be poet laureate of the United States. The man a critic dubbed the "proletariat poet" is in his 80's, and according to Robert Casper, head of the Poetry and Literature Center of the Library of Congress, "could've been poet laureate 20 years ago."  True.  He had the credentials. Levine has won major prizes including the National Book Award, two Guggenheim Foundation fellowships, a Pulitzer and the National Book Critics Circle Award.  He joined the faculty of University of Iowa in 1955 after receiving an MFA as part of the prestigious Iowa Writer's Workshop.  He then moved on to California State University in Fresno where he remains a Professor Emeritus.  He has been a visiting professor and writer-in-residence at Princeton, Brown, Vassar, Tufts, Columbia, New York University and National University of Australia. So why is the octogenarian "amused" that he was chosen as poet laureate?  Perhaps because his...(Read Full Post)

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