Philip Levine quotes

  • There'll always be working people in my poems because I grew up with them, and I am a poet of memory.
    -- Philip Levine

    #Memories #People #Poetry

  • Now I must wait and be still and say nothing I don't know, nothing I haven't lived over and over, and that's everything.
    -- Philip Levine

    #Waiting #Stills

  • I find you in these tears, few, useless and here at last. Don't come back.
    -- Philip Levine

    #Tears #Lasts #Useless

  • You have begun to separate the dark from the dark.
    -- Philip Levine

    #Dark

  • How weightless/ words are when nothing will do.
    -- Philip Levine

  • I say, Father, the years have brought me here, still your son, they have brought me to a life I cannot understand.
    -- Philip Levine

    #Father #Son #Years

  • You have to follow where the poem leads. And it will surprise you. It will say things you didn't expect to say. And you look at the poem and you realize, 'That is truly what I felt.' That is truly what I saw.
    -- Philip Levine

    #Saws #Looks #Surprise

  • Corruption is subtle, just like the Bible said. Many young poets have come to me and asked, How am I gonna make it? They feel, and often with considerable justice, that they are being overlooked while others with less talent are out there making careers for themselves. I always give the same advice. I say, Do it the hard way, and you’ll always feel good about yourself. You write because you have to, and you get this unbelievable satisfaction from doing it well. Try to live on that as long as you’re able.
    -- Philip Levine

    #Writing #Careers #Long

  • Some things you know all your life. They are so simple and true they must be said without elegance, meter and rhyme...they must be naked and alone, they must stand for themselves.
    -- Philip Levine

    #Simple #Naked #Elegance

  • I believed even then that if I could transform my experience into poetry I would give it the value and dignity it did not begin to possess on its own. I thought too that if I could write about it I could come to understand it; I believed that if I could understand my life—or at least the part my work played in it—I could embrace it with some degree of joy, an element conspicuously missing from my life.
    -- Philip Levine

    #Writing #Giving #Joy

  • The irony is, going to work every day became the subject of probably my best poetry.
    -- Philip Levine

    #Irony #Best Poetry #Going To Work

  • I still believe in this country, that it can fulfill the destiny Blake and Whitman envisioned. I still believe in American poetry.
    -- Philip Levine

    #Country #Believe #Destiny

  • I write what's given me to write.
    -- Philip Levine

    #Writing #Given

  • My earliest poems were a way of talking to somebody. I suppose to myself.
    -- Philip Levine

    #Talking #Way #Way Of Talking

  • If that voice that you created that is most alive in the poem isn't carried throughout the whole poem, then I destroy where it's not there, and I reconstruct it so that that voice is the dominant voice in the poem.
    -- Philip Levine

    #Voice #Alive #Reconstruction

  • My sense of a poem - my notion of how you revise - is: you get yourself into a state where what you are intensely conscious of is not why you wrote it or how you wrote it, but what you wrote.
    -- Philip Levine

    #Conscious #States #Notion

  • I realized poetry's the thing that I can do 'cause I can stick at it and work with tremendous intensity.
    -- Philip Levine

    #Causes #Sticks #Intensity

  • Now I think poetry will save nothing from oblivion, but I keep writing about the ordinary because for me it's the home of the extraordinary, the only home.
    -- Philip Levine

    #Home #Writing #Thinking

  • Meet some people who care about poetry the way you do. You'll have that readership. Keep going until you know you're doing work that's worthy. And then see what happens. That's my advice.
    -- Philip Levine

    #People #Advice #Who Cares

  • I have a sense that many Americans, especially those like me with European or foreign parents, feel they have to invent their families just as they have to invent themselves.
    -- Philip Levine

    #Parent #Feels #Like Me

  • No one can write like Vallejo and not sound like a fraud. He's just too much himself and not you.
    -- Philip Levine

    #Writing #Hype #Sound

  • My mother carried on and supported us; her ambition had been to write poetry and songs.
    -- Philip Levine

    #Mother #Song #Ambition

  • My temperament is not geared to that of a novelist.
    -- Philip Levine

    #Novelists #Temperament

  • I'm afraid we live at the mercy of a power, maybe a God, without mercy. And yet we find it, as I have, from others.
    -- Philip Levine

    #Mercy

  • Listen to these young poets and you'll discover the voice of the present and hear the voice of the future before the future is even here.
    -- Philip Levine

    #Voice #Poet #Young