My Lost Poets: A Life in Poetry
Until recent times, Philip Levine’s birthplace, the city of Detroit, was the hub of the American auto industry, offering jobs that may have been less than stimulating but put dinner on the table. Philip Levine took such a job, but his avocation was poetry. And poetry, which he wrote, taught, and loved, seduced him from the repetitive daily routine.
For thirty years, he was a university professor who published books of his poems and was included many in anthologies. My Lost Poets is a chance to enjoy his prose writings, some sections taken from his classes and lectures, others written expressly for his memoir. Since high school, when a favored teacher introduced him to poetry, he knew he had found the path he would pursue. Poetry was intrinsic, not exotic and alien as it was for anyone perceiving an unbreachable chasm between Shakespeare and the modernists.
Levine’s poetry expresses vivid ideas and emotions, and, along with his own work, he blends fragments and verses of poets whose creativity he admired, whose memory he treasured. No less, he includes delightful recollections of socializing with them. Toward the end of his life he was honored as American poet laureate.