Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “My Lost Poets: A Life in Poetry” as Want to Read:
My Lost Poets: A Life in Poetry
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

My Lost Poets: A Life in Poetry

4.48  ·  Rating details ·  50 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Essays, speeches, and journal entries from one of our most admired and best-loved poets that illuminate how he came to understand himself as a poet, the events and people that he wrote about, and the older poets who influenced him.
In prose both as superbly rendered as his poetry and as down-to-earth and easy as speaking, Levine reveals the things that made him the poet he
Paperback, 224 pages
Published November 8th 2016 by Knopf
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
Feb 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A really interesting collection of idiosyncratic essays about his personal history with developing into a poet and his experience with other poets. Many of the other poets I heard read while they were alive. Also a long essay about Spain and the civil war. In addition the book is very clear about his political point of view and how he arrived at it. He was a native of Detroit. The collection was put together by Edward Hirsch another poet whom I have heard lecture and with whom I was privileged ...more
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I was really struck by Levine's discussions of how his perceptions of both contemporary and historical poets and their works changed over time, specifically John Berryman, John Keats and William Wordsworth. I'm glad I don't think that I have to like a person to appreciate their art.
Tad Richards
Nov 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
These essays and lectures capture everything that is wonderful about Philip Levine -- his humanity, his empathy, his earthiness, his eyes and his ears, his insights. Along with the stories about Detroit, about jazz, about history and poetry and poets, there are snippets of poems, or whole poems, from poets celebrated and obscure, and in between.
I'm better for having read it.
Paul Wilner
Nov 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My notice, for the San Francisco Chronicle, of this wonderful book.

Mark Wigert
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Philip Levine’s My Lost Poets: A Life in Poetry is an excellent collection of lectures, essays, and remembrances. Levine speaks and writes of the poets and other individuals who enriched his life with their poetry, music and humanity as he developed into a poet and established his own voice. Levine’s prose writing is engaging, descriptive, and compelling. Don’t concern yourself with being interested in poetry, these writings are well worth the interesting and informative insights that Levine has ...more
Ben G
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Philip Levine is one of my favorite poets. There's no way a posthumous collection of his essays isn't going to get a good rating from me. He was from that era when poetry and jazz were intertwined, and much of the book is about exploring his own wonder to be alive and active as a successful poet. It's real positive going for the embers of my GenX soul, but it's infectious nonetheless.
Sep 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
I very much enjoyed the first essays in this book - great conversational and intelligent tone. Levine is confident but also has a self-deprecating humor that is very endearing. The later essays were less interesting to me, maybe because they became less personal.
Melanie  Hilliard
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
4.75 stars

If you care about how poetry intersects with the working class of Detroit and/or Fresno, this book is for you. I admit it's niche, but if it's your niche, Levine's words will get your heart to beating to the rhythm of this life.
tortoise dreams
May 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A posthumous collection of essays, lectures, and other prose by the former Poet Laureate of the United States, Philip Levine (1928-2015).

Book Review: My Lost Poets is wide-ranging, fun, and thoughtful. Just like Philip Levine himself. What I most enjoyed about this collection was learning more about Levine the person, not just the persona presented in his poetry. This Philip Levine loves jazz, I mean really loves jazz. He is an ardent but humble proponent of the working class, which we knew, but
Paul Womack
Dec 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Given as a gift because the giver knew I wanted to explore poetry and poets and knew I know so little. The book did not disappoint. It is the work of a poet and a teacher. While much remains beyond my scope to grasp, it offers a way forward, inviting me to see poets and their words not as some great mystery to resolve currently beyond my comprehension but as thought and feeling and story and a way, not the only way, but as a way to experience the world.
Dec 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Every poet has a story. Behind every poem is a thought, idea, memory, or vision. History though removes the poet from him or herself sometimes separating the words from the mind that created them.
This book provides a link between the poet and his poems in his own words giving the reader an insight into the evolution of Levine as a poet and as a person.
Highly recommended.
Patti K
Jan 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
A 2016 posthumous collection of writings by this great poet is a pleasure
to read. A couple of the pieces are speeches he gave, others are journal
entries and short remembrances. He writes of his life long friendship
with his mentor, John Berryman as well as his love of Spanish poets,
Wordsworth, Keats' letters and the working people of Detroit. Enjoyable.
rated it it was amazing
Nov 20, 2016
rated it it was amazing
Feb 02, 2017
rated it it was amazing
May 18, 2017
rated it it was amazing
Sep 09, 2016
Lisa Porter
rated it it was amazing
Jun 02, 2017
rated it really liked it
Sep 28, 2017
rated it really liked it
Jul 26, 2017
David Day
rated it it was amazing
Jun 26, 2017
Richard Smith
rated it it was amazing
Dec 31, 2016
Peycho Kanev
rated it it was amazing
Jan 01, 2017
rated it really liked it
May 04, 2017
Apr 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, poetry
Intimate and illuminating both. I learned a lot about Philip Levine's contemporaries and his influences.
rated it it was amazing
Dec 22, 2016
rated it liked it
Aug 23, 2017
rated it it was amazing
Sep 08, 2018
Simeon Berry
rated it really liked it
Apr 28, 2017
rated it liked it
Sep 15, 2017
John Alba
rated it it was amazing
Oct 26, 2017
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
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
“Poetry is like truth: on one level it simply is, and as such it is available to anyone. Anyone, that is, who will spend himself or herself to receive it, for no one has an inherent right to truth. One must earn it, and one earns the truth by honoring it, by treasuring it in a thousand daily acts, by shaping one’s life to both give it and receive it. The emperors have their treasures, and we have ours. [Larry] Levis said it perfectly when he spoke in the voice of Whitman, which is the voice of American poetry; ‘To find me now will cost you everything.” 0 likes
More quotes…