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New Selected Poems

4.38  ·  Rating Details ·  290 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews

Philip Levine's New Selected Poems (1984) by adding to it a generous choice of major from each of the two volumes that followed it: Sweet Will (1985) and A Walk With Tom Jefferson (1988).

Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 21st 1992 by Knopf Publishing Group (first published 1991)
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Peycho Kanev
Oct 06, 2011 Peycho Kanev rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
In ‘New and Selected Poems’, readers will find a real master craftsman at work. His language is conservative and seems simple at first, but when the poem blossoms we are all the more surprised and excited because of it. This book is a gem to read and contains a story, making it as hard to put down as your favorite novel. Philip Levine works on so many levels and can be enjoyed by anyone. He is one of America’s great narrative poets. His plainspoken lyricism has, for half a century, championed th ...more
Clinton Smith
Sep 04, 2015 Clinton Smith rated it really liked it
Tempting to rate this higher, but it struck me, upon closer examination, that the poems in this work plateau in the selections from "Ashes" (1979) and "1933" (earlier), and that much of the later work, by comparison, is rather average.

Levine's work is characterized by a sort of relentless tetrameter that one might wish he varied; the patient accumulation of details that are, at times, surreal and at times seem to have drawn directly from lived experience; his focus on topics such as the nature
Mar 05, 2008 Steven rated it really liked it
The almost twenty years of poetry spanned in Philip Levine’s “New Selected Poems” is a rare study of how a mostly singular theme can be explored with unique rigor and care at each stage. All of Levine’s collections represented here contain ruminations on the struggle between physical labor and intellectual stimulus and how this dichotomy parallels the human struggle between faith and faithlessness. Levine’s poems traverse the country, from the industrial wastelands of the Detroit car companies ...more
Dec 14, 2015 Robert rated it it was amazing
What a fantastic poet--he was born in Detroit and lots of his poems are about working in the car industry in Detroit. His poems are very easy to read--not much rhyming, great meter and wonderful imagery. He was US poet laureate for a year, and deserved it. Lots of first person poems, where the first person moves from entity to entity.

The last poem in the book, is "A Walk with Tom Jefferson" Tom Jefferson is a black guy, who has moved up from Alabama to take part in the car manufacture business.
Michael Borshuk
Feb 15, 2012 Michael Borshuk rated it really liked it
A splendid sample of work from the Detroit-born former poet laureate. My favorite of his work--naturally--are the lyrics that blossom from his home geography, opening up the ostensibly prosaic aspects of working-class Detroit life into something beautiful, ephemeral, introspective, true. Levine can be more fanciful at other times, playfully teasing surreal conceits into whimsical revelations. If there's anything unsatisfying about the book it's merely the nature of collections like this that bri ...more
Terence Manleigh
An absolutely stunning collection of contemporary poetry. Levine has no good news to bring; he is an apocalyptic poet, in the same way that T. S. Eliot was -- blasted and degraded Detroit is Levine's Waste Land, and in many ways he surpasses Eliot in making bleakness and ugliness beautiful. And he is a confessional poet of the first order, mining his life and his family for material that somehow transcends the banal into sublimity. And to top it off, underneath it all, there is a sort of photo-n ...more
Aug 04, 2007 Steel rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who have ever had a non-academic job
Great accessible poetry from my favorite living poet. Even if you don't like (or get) poetry, you should like this book. Levine employs very simple prose diction but does it very very well to produce what I consider some of the most humane, honest, sincere poetry of the post-WWII years. Read these poems.
Patrick Mcgee
Apr 21, 2012 Patrick Mcgee rated it it was amazing
This is Levine's Selected Poems with about an additional 60 pages of content amounting to 15 or so poems. The additions are great and Levine's narrative voice and resounding themes are still present. If you are a fan of Levine, this book is a must to at least read once. I will be reading it time and again.
Jill Pletcher
Jan 22, 2008 Jill Pletcher rated it really liked it
If you like William Carlos Williams, you'll probably like this writer. He takes risks in the words he uses, and stays unafraid as he works thru so much emotion (good & bad), and failure. I suppose I needed to read this book at the dawn of a new year. This is one of many books on my son's shelves. Amazing.
Nov 15, 2007 Mike rated it it was amazing
If you get only two books of poetry in your life, make this the second (Plath's Collected is first). Levine is the quintessential 20th Century working class poet. He's got a beautiful voice and sort of calls himself an anarchist. You'll even find some Spanish Civil War poems in here.
Virginia Albanese
Jan 20, 2016 Virginia Albanese rated it liked it
Liked most of his poems that were easy to understand about concrete situations in our life. Very descriptive.
Jun 28, 2007 Wealhtheow rated it really liked it
"How Much Can It Hurt?", "You Can Have It" and "Lost and Found"
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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 t
More about Philip Levine...

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“I speak to H. in a bar         in downtown L.A. Over a schooner of beer         he waits out the day” 0 likes
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