The son of Russian Jewish immigrants, Philip Levine was born in Detroit in 1928. He has been honored with a Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Award, an American Book Award, two National Book Critics Circle Awards and a Lenore Marshal Poetry Prize. On August 9, 2011, Levine was named the next U.S. Poet Laureate.
How does poetry serve, since, as W.H. Auden told us long ago, it ?makes nothing happen?? That is the question behind Adrienne Rich?s most recent book, which comes as a summary of all she has learned in the course of giving us 30 books of poetry full of commitment to the art and its relevance. I find in her work always great strength, of mind and of ear. She does not seek to be obscure or to write for trivial reasons; her poems emerge from personal need and urgency.