What Work Is (Google eBook)

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Aug 31, 2011 - Poetry - 96 pages
18 Reviews
Winner of the National Book Award in 1991
 
“This collection amounts to a hymn of praise for all the workers of America. These proletarian heroes, with names like Lonnie, Loo, Sweet Pea, and Packy, work the furnaces, forges, slag heaps, assembly lines, and loading docks at places with unglamorous names like Brass Craft or Feinberg and Breslin’s First-Rate Plumbing and Plating. Only Studs Terkel’s Working approaches the pathos and beauty of this book. But Levine’s characters are also significant for their inner lives, not merely their jobs. They are unusually artistic, living ‘at the borders of dreams.’ One reads The Tempest ‘slowly to himself’; another ponders a diagonal chalk line drawn by his teacher to suggest a triangle, the roof of a barn, or the mysterious separation of ‘the dark from the dark.’ What Work Is ranks as a major work by a major poet . . . very accessible and utterly American in tone and language.”
—Daniel L. Guillory, Library Journal
  

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Review: What Work Is: Poems

User Review  - Helen - Goodreads

Levine's book of poetry, What Work Is, is exactly that. A collection of poems that define work, the kind we do for money, the kind we do for love, the kind we do for understanding. They're beautiful ... Read full review

Review: What Work Is: Poems

User Review  - Tristan - Goodreads

Just finished this book today. I'm torn between a four star and a five star rating. This was an incredibly solid collection with a number of wonderful poems; my personal favorites are "Growth", "What ... Read full review

Contents

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IV
A NOTE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
BOOKS BY PHILIP LEVINE
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Philip Levine was born in 1928 in Detroit and was formally educated there, in the public schools and at Wayne University (now Wayne State University). After a succession of industrial jobs, he left the city for good and lived in various parts of the country before settling in Fresno, California, where he taught at the state university until his retirement. For twelve autumns he served as poet in residence at New York University. He has received many awards for his books of poems, including the National Book Award in 1991 for What Work Is and the Pulitzer Prize in 1995 for The Simple Truth. In 2011 he was appointed Poet Laureate of the United States. He divides his time between Fresno, California, and Brooklyn, New York.

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