Soon after arriving in Calfornia in 1958 I bought a book on impulse, I’d never bought a book of poetry before but something attracted me to this book. It’s title was ‘Poets Choice’ and it was a collection of about 100 poems chosen by their authors as their favorites, one poem stood out and grabbed me, it was by someone I’d never heard of, Philip Levine, the poem was ‘For Fran’, dedicated to his wife. Here it is, I’ve had it on my wall or my desktop all my life. It almost brought me to tears.
This led me to Philip Levine’s poetry which I discovered was based in large part on his experiences working in the Ford plant in Detroit, Michigan and in Spain where he went to study the antifascist side of the Spanish Civil War and to write about it. He was perhaps the only American poet devoted to the industrial workers and their conditions. He became the poet laureate of the United States and NPR-TV devoted this piece to him. The second piece is a bit longer and he reads several of his poems. He will definitely be missed, thanks Phillip.