A Tribute To Detroit's U.S. Poet Laureate, The Late Philip Levine, Featuring Edward Hirsch

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A Tribute To Detroit's U.S. Poet Laureate, The Late Philip Levine, Featuring Edward Hirsch
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A Tribute to Detroit’s U.S. Poet Laureate Philip Levine with history, poems and music.

7 to 8:30 p.m. April 24 (Friday)

-Edward Hirsch, MacArthur poet & National Book Award winner
-M. L. Liebler, WSU faculty & Detroit poet
-Laval Todd Duncan, WSU faculty
-Tony Paris, Sugar Law Center lead attorney and musician, with Sam Boyhtari and Molly Jean
-Casey Rocheteau, Levine’s former student and Detroit Write-a-House winner
-Brian Kaufman, Detroit Free Press multi-media journalist, director of Packard: The Last Shift
-and more

The event is FREE and open to the public.

Philip Levine was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet best known for his poems about working-class Detroit.


Belle Isle, 1949
By Philip Levine

We stripped in the first warm spring night
and ran down into the Detroit River
to baptize ourselves in the brine
of car parts, dead fish, stolen bicycles,
melted snow. I remember going under
hand in hand with a Polish highschool girl
I'd never seen before, and the cries
our breath made caught at the same time
on the cold, and rising through the layers
of darkness into the final moonless atmosphere
that was this world, the girl breaking
the surface after me and swimming out
on the starless waters towards the lights
of Jefferson Ave. and the stacks
of the old stove factory unwinking.
Turning at last to see no island at all
but a perfect calm dark as far
as there was sight, and then a light
and another riding low out ahead
to bring us home, ore boats maybe, or smokers
walking alone. Back panting
to the gray coarse beach we didn't dare
fall on, the damp piles of clothes,
and dressing side by side in silence
to go back where we came from.
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