Congratulations to Philip Levine, who was named America’s newest poet laureate this morning. The 83-year-old writer is a professor emeritus in the English Department at California State University, Fresno and has published 20 collections of poems, along with several non-fiction books. Levine has also been the recipient of countless honors, including a Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award.
“Philip Levine is one of America’s great narrative poets,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington in this morning’s announcement. “His plainspoken lyricism has, for half a century, championed the art of telling ‘The Simple Truth’—about working in a Detroit auto factory, as he has, and about the hard work we do to make sense of our lives.” But don’t just take his word for it. You can get to know Levine yourself by perusing his lengthy, vintage Paris Review interview and reading (or listening him read) a selection of his poems. His newest book, which was published in 2009, is News of the World.