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U.S. Poet Laureate Philip Levine On Writing, Ethics, Being Jewish, And More

This year, 83-year-old Philip Levine, poet of the working class, was appointed Poet Laureate of the United States. Tablet book critic Adam Kirsch once pointedly noted that Levine “goes out of his way to tell us that he is essentially a peasant. … In his poetry he returns again and again to his pre-academic life as a manual laborer.” Having grown up in a lower-middle-class Jewish family in Detroit, Levine worked in factories until the age of 30, when he began teaching English and creative writing.

Here, Levine talks to Tablet contributor Jake Marmer about his writing, ethics, being Jewish, and more.

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