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Philip Levine Quotes

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Philip Levine
January 10, 1928 -
Nationality: American
Category: Poet
Subcategory: American Poet

But most commonly, it's one poem that I work on with a lot of intensity.


If that voice that you created that is most alive in the poem isn't carried throughout the whole poem, then I destroy where it's not there, and I reconstruct it so that that voice is the dominant voice in the poem.


I'm afraid we live at the mercy of a power, maybe a God, without mercy. And yet we find it, as I have, from others.


I'm seventy-one now, so it's hard to imagine a dramatic change.


My father died when I was five, but I grew up in a strong family.


Back then, I couldn't have left a poem a year and gone back to it.


My temperament is not geared to that of a novelist.


My sense of a poem - my notion of how you revise - is: you get yourself into a state where what you are intensely conscious of is not why you wrote it or how you wrote it, but what you wrote.


I realized poetry's the thing that I can do 'cause I can stick at it and work with tremendous intensity.


The irony is, going to work every day became the subject of probably my best poetry.


Meet some people who care about poetry the way you do. You'll have that readership. Keep going until you know you're doing work that's worthy. And then see what happens. That's my advice.


For sure I once thought of myself as the poet who would save the ordinary from oblivion.


No one can write like Vallejo and not sound like a fraud. He's just too much himself and not you.


I was very lucky to have a mother who encouraged me to become a poet.


But I'm too old to be written about as a young poet.


There'll always be working people in my poems because I grew up with them, and I am a poet of memory.


I listen to jazz about three hours a day. I love Louis Armstrong.


My mother carried on and supported us; her ambition had been to write poetry and songs.


Now I think poetry will save nothing from oblivion, but I keep writing about the ordinary because for me it's the home of the extraordinary, the only home.


I'm saying look, here they come, pay attention. Let your eyes transform what appears ordinary, commonplace, into what it is, a moment in time, an observed fragment of eternity.


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