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Philip Levine

 

continued

And that subject matter provokes Levine's best poems. The recent "Drum" takes its subtitle from a job location: "Leo's Tool & Die, 1950." In the poem Levine describes the lives of the people who work there with him, who "sweep, wash up, punch out, collect outside / for a final smoke." At the end even this small job shot finds an almost mythic connection:

The slow light of Friday morning in Michigan,
the one we waited for, shows seven hills
of scraped earth topped with crab grass,
weeds, a black oil drum empty, glistening
at the exact center of the modern world.


Philip Levine reads from his poems at the Michigan League on Tuesday, October 8.    (end of article)

[Originally published in October, 2002.]

 

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