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Philip Levine, U.S. Poet Laureate: A Resource Guide

About Philip Levine at the Library of Congress

Philip Levine served as the U.S. Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry at the Library of Congress from 2011-2012, having officially begun his term on October 17th, 2011. The links below provide more information about Levine's activities at the Library, including webcasts, blog posts, and related news releases.

On August 10, 2011, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced the appointment of Philip Levine as the 18th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry. In a statement announcing the appointment, Dr. Billington said:

Philip Levine is one of America’s great narrative poets. His plainspoken lyricism has, for half a century, championed the art of telling ‘The Simple Truth’—about working in a Detroit auto factory, as he has, and about the hard work we do to make sense of our lives.

As Poet Laureate, Levine opened the Library's Fall 2011 literary season by giving an inaugural reading of his work.

Philip Levine closed the Spring 2012 literary season and selected the 2012 Witter Bynner Fellows. Levine also partook in a May 4, 2012, videoconference, streamed live on the Internet, with ten sites—five high schools, four public libraries, and one retirement community—located around the country. The program, titled "Behind the Scenes with the Poet Laureate," External featured Levine reading and discussing three of his poems, followed by a live question and answer session with participating institutions. Philip Levine ended his term as Poet Laureate on May 3, 2012.

Levine passed away in February of 2015 at the age of 87.

Library of Congress press releases about Philip Levine's poet laureate appointment, activities, and events are listed below along with an article from the Library of Congress Information Bulletin. Levine has also been featured on both the Poetry and Literature Center's blog, From the Catbird Seat, and on the Library's main blog. Those blog posts are linked below.

The Library of Congress features several recordings of Philip Levine reading and discussing his poetry and the poetry of other poets. These are listed below.