Sunday, January 08, 2017

A Note about Philip Levine

In Philip Levine's poetry collections up to A Walk with Tom Jefferson (1988), the "Note About the Author" included the phrase "a succession of stupid jobs" to refer to what he spent his time doing in Detroit before he "left the city for good."

But starting with What Work Is (1991), that part of his biography had been rephrased as "a succession of industrial jobs."


JforJames said...

Never noticed that. Was he getting more philosophical about his early working class roots? Did he not think it politically correct to call those repetitive automotive plant jobs stupid? I wonder if during the Q&A after a reading he was ever asked about the change to his bio note.

Andrew Shields said...

My take is that he began to understand "what work is" in a different way, and as he did so, he rephrased the biography. A topic for an article on Levine: how his stories about working in industry in Detroit change over time.