Ex-Fresno State Professor named new US Poet Laureate
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A former Fresno State English Professor is America's new Poet Laureate. Philip Levine will serve as the so-called ambassador for poetry for the next year.
He doesn't' look famous, in fact most Americans have probably never heard his name, but the Library of Congress has deemed Fresno's Philip Levine the nation's official lightning rod for the poetic impulse of America, at least until next May.
Many Fresno State graduates will recognize Levine as their former English Professor, Levine taught there for years, as well as many other prestigious colleges and universities across the country including Columbia, Brown and New York University. But his true love lies in poetry.
"Some things you know all your life," said Levine. "They're so simple and true, they must be said without elegance, meter and rhyme."
The poem is called "The Simple Truth" it's based on his life experiences in Fresno... including a portrait of a polish woman who used to sell produce at the corner of Fruit and Ashlan. The poem earned him a Pulitzer Prize in 1995.
Levine began writing as a teenager in Detroit. He was inspired by poems about real life -- in cities -- and life on the battlefield -- during World War II.
"In high school we read mainly bucolic poetry," said Levine. "Poetry, you know, written about the Garden of Eden. You know, everything's blooming, everybody's blooming and we're gonna go ice skating later."
Some 20 books and numerous awards later, Philip Levine still isn't finished writing. As part of his Poet Laureate award he will receive $35 thousand to work on an individual project. He's considering writing a blog for the Detroit Free Press, a newspaper in the city where he grew up.
Levine said, "Sort of tune into the people of Detroit who are interested in the arts, who are interested in poetry, who are interested in my life and what my experience was in Detroit and whether it strengthened me or ruined me."
Whichever the case, there's no doubt the Motor City launched a national treasure.
fresno, fresno county, california state university fresno, local, liz harrison
- Deadly shooting investigation in Southwest Fresno 28 min ago
- Vietnam says it may have found missing jet's door
- Free health care enrollment fair held in Fresno
- Parlier youth football team mourns slain coach
- 2 dozen injured as California school stage falls
- Pistorius trial: Stunning testimony in 1st week
- Putin defends separatist drive in Crimea as legal
- Fresno PD: Man hit by vehicle while jaywalking
- Suspected gang member nabbed in fatal Fresno shooting
- DUI suspect crashes into 'We Be Sober' drivers
- United Way celebrates 90 years of serving Fresno County
- Elderly drivers: When to turn over the keys
- 3D printer and Twitter used to make Oreo cookies
- CIF Central Section Basketball Finals