CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Sept. 8, 2000
Pulitzer-winning poet and UI alumnus Philip Levine reads Sept. 22
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Poet Philip Levine, a Pulitzer Prize-winning alumnus
of the University of Iowa Writers Workshop, will read from his work
at 8 p.m., Friday, Sept. 22 in Shambaugh Auditorium of the UI Main Library.
The free reading is co-sponsored by the UI International Writing Program and
Levine is the author of 16 books of poetry, most recently "The Mercy."
His other poetry collections include the Pulitzer-winning "The Simple
Truth" (1994) and the National Book Award-winning "What Work Is"
(1991). His "New Selected Poems" (1991) and "Ashes: Poems New
and Old" (1979) both won the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Levine is particularly well known for his poems set in Detroit, invoking
a blighted urban landscape. A prolific poet, he has published collections
at regular intervals since "On the Edge" appeared in 1963. His earliest
poems were relatively formal, but "Not This Pig" (1968), his second
book, marked the emergence of his mature style, characterized by a haunting
lyricism, an inward sense of the natural world, and a strong identification
with ethnic and working-class issues. There is an undertone of rage and defiance
throughout later volumes.
Edward Hirsch wrote, in response to Levines book "They Feed The
Lion," "[Levine is] capable of thorny affirmations. . . The magisterial
title poem is Levines hymn of communal rage. It fuses a host of influences
into a daring and brilliant new whole. One hears behind it the driving rhythms
of the biblical prophets, the anaphora of Christopher Smarts Jubilate
Agno and Whitmans Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking,
the wildly inventive, mixed diction of Dylan Thomas and John Berryman, the
splendid verbal twists and turns of colloquial speech."
Levine has also published a collection of essays, "The Bread of Time:
Toward an Autobiography" (1994), in which he discusses his experience
at the UI, and he edited "The Essential Keats." He co-edited and
translated several other volumes of poetry.
Levine has received numerous awards, including the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize,
the Harriet Monroe Memorial Prize for Poetry, the Frank O'Hara Prize and two
Guggenheim Foundation fellowships. For two years he served as chair of the
Literature Panel of the National Endowment for the Arts, and he was elected
a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets in 2000.
After a succession of industrial jobs, he left the country. He has periodically
lived in Spain, a country whose people, landscape, and history remain a strong
presence in his poems. Levine finally settled in Fresno, Calif., where he
taught for a number of years at the state university before retiring.