“I saw that the people that I was working with…were voiceless in a way”

Philip Levine “…always considered his main mission was to document and honor the lives of working-class people.

“’I saw that the people that I was working with…were voiceless in a way,’ he told Detroit Magazine. ‘In terms of literature of the United States they weren’t being heard. Nobody was speaking for them. And as young people will, you know, I took this foolish vow that I would speak for them and that’s what my life would be. And sure enough I’ve gone and done it. Or I’ve tried anyway.’”

Read more at PBS Newshour: A poet’s ode to the meaning of work – Mary Jo Brooks – September 5, 2016.  Hear more via the video posted above.

What Work Is

Philip Levine

We stand in the rain in a long line
waiting at Ford Highland Park. For work.
You know what work is—if you’re
old enough to read this you know what
work is, although you may not do it.
Forget you. This is about waiting,

Read rest of poem (scroll to end) 

 

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