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Winner of the National Book Award in 1991 This collection amounts to a hymn of praise for all the workers of America. These proletarian heroes, with names like Lonnie, Loo, Sweet Pea, and Packy, work the furnaces, forges, slag heaps, assembly lines, and loading docks at places with unglamorous names like Brass Craft or Feinberg and Breslin s First-Rate Plumbing and Plating. Only Studs Terkel s Working approaches the pathos and beauty of this book. But Levine s characters are also significant for their inner lives, not merely their jobs. They are unusually artistic, living at the borders of dreams. One reads The Tempest slowly to himself; another ponders a diagonal chalk line drawn by his teacher to suggest a triangle, the roof of a barn, or the mysterious separation of the dark from the dark. What Work Is ranks as a major work by a major poet . . . very accessible and utterly American in tone and language. Daniel L. Guillory, Library Journal "

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780679740582
ISBN-10: 0679740589
Format: Paperback
(229mm x 159mm x 8mm)
Pages: 77
Imprint: Alfred A. Knopf
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Publish Date: 21-Apr-1992
Country of Publication: United States


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Author Biography - Philip Levine

Philip Levine was born in 1928 in Detroit and was formally educated there, in the public schools and at Wayne University (now Wayne State University). After a succession of industrial jobs, he left the city for good and lived in various parts of the country before settling in Fresno, California, where he taught at the state university until his retirement. For twelve autumns he served as poet in residence at New York University. He has received many awards for his books of poems, including the National Book Award in 1991 for What Work Is and the Pulitzer Prize in 1995 for The Simple Truth. In 2011 he was appointed Poet Laureate of the United States. He divides his time between Fresno, California, and Brooklyn, New York.

Books By Author Philip Levine

History of My Befuddlement by Philip Levine

A History of My Befuddlement

Paperback, January 2011
Stranger to Nothing by Philip Levine

Stranger to Nothing

Paperback, June 2006
Discourse and Technology by Philip Levine

Discourse and Technology

Paperback, February 2004
Elegy by Philip Levine


Paperback, October 1997