Thursday, August 11, 2011

Labels and such


Meet Philip Levine. 
He is a professor.
He is a Pulitzer Prize winner.
He is an anarchist poet.
He is a voice of the industrial heartland.
He is your new Poet Laureate. Remember poet laureate
"A poet laureate (plural: poets laureate) is a poet officially appointed by a government and is often expected to compose poems for State occasions and other government events".

An anarchist for our poet laureate. Oh, Mr. Levine, I so love you!!! PLEASE make a difference in our government - please be the voice of the industrial heartland. 
"The windows don’t see anything: they’re black,   
eyeless, they give back only what’s given;   
sometimes, like now, even less than what’s given,"
 
Anarchist poet seems a harsh label for Mr. Levine. How about we just call him a humble observer who has soften over the days. 
Poet laureates usually promote a 'pet poetry project'.  The goal is to broaden the poetry audience and to encourage people to see poetry without the astigmatism of the word 'poetry'.
Mr. Levine's proposed project? "...people would be asked to name the ugliest poem they could think of."
 Oh, Mr. Levine, you already have me thinking. And laughing... And wondering where the anarchy is in your soul. I see a pretty nice guy here!

(No, not our dogs. Ours don't ride in the bed of our truck...)

The ugliest poem... think about it. I bet at least someone will suggest:
"There once was a girl from Nantucket...
 

9 comments:

Stella said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/10/books/a-selection-of-poems-by-philip-levine.html

Mr. Levine sounds like just what we need these days, doesn't he? Who chose him? For how long?

I think I love him too.

Jo

Brenda's Arizona said...

Great link, Jo and Stella!
The job is his for a year. What will he do in a year? Let's see! Read poetry to Congress to remind them of the working man, the taxpayer.

The PL is appointed by the head of the Library of Congress. I wonder if any one ever says "No thanks, I don't want the job"?

Kathy said...

Didn't the first PL of this administration read a poem at Obama's inauguration? Or maybe I just dreamed it or made it up! Where on earth did you find that picture? Glad to see you back in blogland.

Pat Tillett said...

talk about a breath of fresh air...

Thérèse said...

Thanks for this great great post and Stella for the link. Where to read the poems which have been or are going to be written by the PL? I don't think I read any, shame on me... but I heard a couple of them.

Banjo52 said...

I haven't been back to Levine in a while, used to like him, but over time he started to sound prose-y to me--which is our national epidemic.

Kathy, that was Elizabeth Alexander, now Chair of African American Studies at Yale. Many awards, but not this one.

Brenda's Arizona said...

Kathy, re: photo - The Gemini Giant, on Route 66.
http://www.legendsofamerica.com/il-wilimington.html

Banjo, thanks for jumping in with the answer to the other question. A few PLOUS (Poet Laureate of US, as I learned) have spoken at presidential inauguration, and if I recall my history, even Robert Frost read at JFKs - but by then Frost was not PLOUS?

Therese, so many good former PLOUS - you have given me direction!
Thanks, all y'all, for comments!

altadenahiker said...

Maybe asking people to name any poem they could think of would be taxing enough.

I don't know about ugly, but one of the saddest poems for me is Ted Hughes' View of a Pig

Pasadena Adjacent said...

All anarchist live in Fresno. Obviously you haven't visited my blog or you'd have discovered the lament of Bucky