The Big Read Blog (Archive)

"They Feed They Lion" by Philip Levine

Image of Philip Levine used courtesy of The Poetry Foundation

Last year, my colleague Rebecca and I were lucky enough to sit down and talk poetry with the former U.S. Poet Laureate Philip Levine in his suite at the Library of Congress. Rebecca conducted the interview while I recorded it. One of the questions she put to Levine was which of his poems were his favorite. Here's his answer, followed by a reading of "They Feed They Lion" and an explanation of what inspired it. It's a moving poem inspired by the explosive race riots in Detroit in the late 1960s. [3:46]

Can't get enough Philip Levine? Please check out this post where he discusses his own work, his love of jazz, and a time he realized a poem of his wasn't good.


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