Analysis Of The Poem What Work Is By Philip Levine

2254 words - 9 pages

Born in Detroit, Michigan in 1928, poet Laureate Phillip Levine’s work traverses a wide range of diction and syntax, while he epitomizes dark, brooding, and grim poetry. Levine, a Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet, best known for his poems about working-class Detroit. He has been noted by some that in his poetry there is “a recurring specificity of time (days, months, years) and of place”(The Atlantic, interview 2000) having been deemed to have the past, present, and future in his poems all at once. In 1999, Phillip Levine told an Atlantic interviewer after being asked about performance versus poetry, where he said, “I don't think that performance has helped American poetry. I really don't. I think a number of American poets have almost ruined their careers by going out and getting that kind of attention -- going from campus to campus and being sort of awe-inspiring for an hour and a half, and feeding on the adulation.” (Atlantic, 1999). Over the next 5 years Phillip worked on his new collection The Mercy that is dedicated to his mothers passing at ninety-four. So what has this “dark and grim poet”, this time mixing, and mysterious poet, contributed to American poetry? He has brought American poetry into the realm of the surreal, the forbidden-which is questioning others tried and true poetry methods, and formulating his own. His own backbreaking work and unemployment difficulties he faced in Detroit are the quintessence of success in lots of his work. Phillip Levine has successfully noted that for the process of poetry, it essentially must be being alone, and not over exaggerating the typical performance. This process both defines his work, why he does it, and has definitely brought a new dimension to postmodern American poetry with a different twist ,(by using real life scenario’s) utilizing many of his poems about working class Detroit through powerful diction and syntax.
Phillip Levine first began composing poetry at the age of 14; inspired by the flowering of a mock orange bush he had purchased with money he had earned washing windows. Levine’s poetry was not always dark. As a child he was inspired by blossoming colors and details. Since Phillip Levine was a child his influence for poetry was clear. It was inevitable that in the near future he was going to be a scholarly poet. From one of his widely renown interviews he said, “I looked on the work my hands had wrought," he recalled later, "then I said in my heart, as it happened to the gardener, so it happened to me, for we all go into one place; we are all earth and return to earth. The dark was everywhere, and as my voice went out I was sure it reached the edges of creation.”(The Atlantic Interview, 2000). Phillip found poetry right in the heart of home as demonstrated in the quotation. He seemed to dwell on the idea of “we are all earth, and return to earth”. This quotation conveys how he sees dark everywhere, as this correlates with his work in general because throughout his whole...

Find Another Essay On Analysis of The Poem What Work Is by Philip Levine

Simplicity is Power: An Analysis of the Poem "When Autumn Came" by Faiz Ahmed Faiz

698 words - 3 pages dazzling effect to the image of autumn. Autumn is deprived from its "decay" theme and is given life by people through seeing this season as a season of beauty. However, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, a Pakistani writer, brings back the reality, that autumn is indeed a season, not of beauty, but of decay and grief. His choice of words (choosing words with negative connotations) makes his piece a very successful narration of what autumn really is."This is the

Poetry analysis of the two texts "there's no understanding what you did" which is a poem by Gabrielle Faure and the lyrics to "Religious Love" by R. Kelly". the issue of loss

652 words - 3 pages The two texts that I have analysed are "there's no understanding what you did" which is a poem by Gabrielle Faure and the lyrics to "Religious Love" by R. Kelly.The topic that we are studying is loss. These two texts are both about loss and the harm and suffering of losing someone very close but show very different views and emotions about the same topic.The poem by Gabrielle Faure tells the cause of death and expresses the aspects of tragedy

This is a close reading aka analysis of the poem "Landscape with the Fall of Icarus" by William Carlos Williams

510 words - 3 pages The poem "Landscape with the Fall of Icarus", by William Carlos Williams, portrays in writing the painting by Brueghel. The piece depicts the Greek myth of the tragedy of Icarus, a boy who flew too close to the sun with wax wings and fell into the sea to his death. The poem has no set rhyme scheme or meter, an example of one of Williams' many free verse poems. After reading the poem many times, I started sensing a feeling of insignificance; that

Analysis of the poem "Prayer of Steel" by Carl Sanburg

1323 words - 5 pages formalist reading of the poem"Prayer of Steel" is a short poem composed of 9 lines, the ninth being the longest. The cohesive devices in the poem will be analyzed on three levels: lexical, grammatical, and phonological. The analysis will be made first of the individual stanzas, then of the overall structure of the whole poem. Leech's concept of cohesion will be referred to where necessary.General observationsThe title "Prayers of Steel" is an example

Analysis of The thesis of The Age of Great Dreams by David Farber and American Pastoral by Philip Roth

3167 words - 13 pages cohesive argument but moreover by evoking a sense of further knowledge on the 1960’s. Part II: Philip Roth is a remarkably uncommon author. His writing is characterized by many defining factors. Being Jewish himself, Roth is well-known for his exploration of Jewish-American life, evident in the “Swede” being a part of a Jewish-American family. A more startling idiosyncrasy of Roth’s writing is the blatant acknowledgment of sexual topics. Roth is

Analysis of the poem "The truly great" by Stephen Spender

1232 words - 5 pages Written By Shaun Kearney 6E 2003"The Truly Great", a treatise on greatness.(Poem written by Stephen Spender)This poem, broadly, is an attempt to describe what makes a person "truly" great. The poem was written in the 1930's during wartime, this no doubt influenced the poet. However, soldiers are not the only people he is referring to. He is essentially referring to anyone who selflessly fights for what they believe in."I think continually of

Poetry Analysis of the poem "I, Too" by Langston Hughes

860 words - 3 pages discrimination he is receiving.The poem's use of simple language helps to clearly define what the poet wants to express. The saying that "strong people don't waste words," is shown here, as the poem is short and to the point. It could also reflect the uneducated class, or the clarity and simplicity of their just complaint. The poem is also made more effective by using words with deeper meanings. For example, the word, "brother," means family and symbolizes

Analysis of the Poem "Lucifer in Starlight" by George Meredith

783 words - 3 pages Examining a poem in detail can bring out new meanings and ideas. By careful analysis, the full beauty of the poem can be appreciated. The poem 'Lucifer in Starlight (p. 959)', by George Meredith, can be analyzed to refine the authors purpose, by examining every subtle hint, every possibility, for a deeper theme. Also, 'deciphering' formal literary techniques such as metaphor, connotation, and symbolism is the key to unlock other expressions. The

Analysis of the Poem by Edgar Allan Poe "Bridal Ballad"

1271 words - 5 pages Bridal Ballad is a poem by Edgar Allan Poe that focuses on the themes of marriage, love, loss and a desire for happiness. It also concentrates on the symbolism of a wedding ring as finality as well as the despair and hopelessness that comes with it. The poem demonstrates that no matter how powerful and legally binding a marriage is it cannot change who your heart beats for. Bridal Ballad was first composed and published simply as "Ballad" in the

Analysis of poem "The Door" by Miroslav Holub

509 words - 2 pages what restricts us. It can also be seen as a gateway to opportunity and change. This image gives cohesion to the entire poem because the image is sustained strongly throughout.The poet uses imagery throughout the poem, evoking strong images in each stanza, and language that appeals to the senses. The first stanza uses an image of a "tree, or a wood". This natural image conjures a sense of freedom. It then moves to "a garden, or a magic city

Review and analysis of the poem "America" by Allen Ginsberg - written as a lecture, but is in essay format

585 words - 2 pages Allen Ginsberg has been credited "the single greatest influence on the American poetic voice since Whitman", by Bob Dylan himself, and Ginsberg would most probably agree, being his own biggest fan. "America" is typical of Allen Ginsberg in that it's increadibly long. Allen Ginsbergs poems are characteristically long winded and conversational- or monologual- quite unlike the usual style of a poem. He uses peoples full names, and often dedicates

Similar Essays

"What Work Is" By Phillip Levine

560 words - 2 pages unrealized". When reading the poem "What Work Is" by Philip Levine this is the definition that fit's the context of the piece. The poem speaks of a man who is waiting in a long line for the chance to be interviewed for a job. He describes the thoughts and feelings he has during this time. He talks about work, or the lack of, and how this has taken a toll on him. The word 'wait' is associated with the main character in the story with hope because he is the

Northern Lights By Philip Pullman / What Is The Symbolism Of Daemons

1024 words - 4 pages 'Northern Lights' by Philip Pullman revolves around Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon who are journeying North to rescue their friend Roger from an evil organization run by Lyra's estranged mother. Set in an alternate dimension , daemons are a huge factor in this story with their symbolism allowing for a better understanding of the story and characters for both readers and characters.People and their daemons are connected and cannot survive apart

This Essay Is An Analysis Of The Poem "Lovers Of The Poor" By Gwendolyn Brooks

901 words - 4 pages in their nice homes while the poor will be stuck in the slums. In our society we make it out to look like we want to help the poor by creating programs and other things to benefit the poor, but when push comes to shove there are still poor people living in these ghettos and society can not do anything about it. Brooks says it herself on the first page of the poem "Their guild is giving money to the poor". This quote means that they give money to

Analysis Of Poem "Life Is Fine" By Langston Hughes

1345 words - 5 pages realizes that his lost love is not worth giving his life up for. Hughes had a tough childhood, being raised mostly by his grandmother. His poem “Life is Fine” very possibly was close to his heart considering he may have faced some of the same struggles he wrote of in his poems. Hughes has written other works such as biographies and short stories about life and its experiences and his works are valuable to readers in their lives as well (Norris