By now, the poetry world knows that former U.S. Poet Laureate Philip Levine has passed. There is so much that I could say about Levine’s work. Simply put, when I was younger and bought copies of What Work Is, News of the World, and The Simple Truth, it had a profound impact on my poetry. Levine taught me much about the narrative form, poetry of place, and finding dignity in work, even the grueling factory jobs he worked for all of those years. He taught me that I could draw from personal experience and memory and use it to carve out poems and find my voice.
To mark Levine’s passing, I offer an elegy, written by my friend, Dante Di Stefano, and published a few days ago by Rattle. Read it here. Celebrate the man, and celebrate his work.