philip levine quotes


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.


It's ironic that while I was a worker in Detroit, which I left when I was twenty six, my sense was that the thing that's going to stop me from being a poet is the fact that I'm doing this crummy work.


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.


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.


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.


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.


I have a sense that many Americans, especially those like me with European or foreign parents, feel they have to invent their families just as they have to invent themselves.


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