Detroit Today

Working Man's Poet From Detroit Dies at 87

Monday February 16, 2015

Former national poet laureate Philip Levine, a Detroit native, died over the weekend at his home in California. He was 87. He won a Pulitzer in 1995, and twice won the National Book Award.

"When you ask me about the chip on my shoulder, I think it came from working in Detroit," Levine told WDET in 2011. Levine was a factory worker in Detroit as a young man. Levine says he learned a lot about life and Detroit in the factories, "in terms of who owned it, and who prospered from it, and who worked like a dog."

You can watch Phil Levine talking about Detroit and reciting his poem "Packard: The Last Shift" at The Detroit Free Press website.