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What Work Is

What Work Is by Philip Levine
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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
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group; August 2011
96 pages; ISBN 9780307761958
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Title: What Work Is
Author: Philip Levine
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Philip Levine dies at 87; former US poet laureate, Pulitzer winner - Los Angeles Times
Mon, 16 Feb 2015 10:56:59 -0800
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Remembering Philip Levine, writer of poetic odes to honest work - PBS NewsHour
Mon, 16 Feb 2015 17:22:02 -0800
PBS NewsHourRemembering Philip Levine, writer of poetic odes to honest workPBS NewsHourPHILIP LEVINE, Poet: “We stand in the ...
Philip Levine, Laureate - New Yorker (blog)
Thu, 11 Aug 2011 10:40:55 -0700
New Yorker (blog)Philip Levine, LaureateNew Yorker (blog)Indeed, he titled his 1991 book—still perhaps his most widely ...
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