|Philip Levine. Photo © Geoffrey Berliner|
Last week the Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington, announced the appointment of Philip Levine as our 18th National Poet Laureate. Mr. Levine has been described as one of our nation's greatest narrative poets and has won numerous literary awards including the Pulitzer Prize and The National Book Award. For more information about Mr. Levine and his works visit the Library of Congress' website. If you visit The Writer's Almanac, you can listen to Garrison Keillor read a selection of poems.
A Sleepless Night
by Philip Levine
April, and the last of the plum blossoms
scatters on the black grass
before dawn. The sycamore, the lime,
the struck pine inhale
the first pale hints of sky.
An iron day,
I think, yet it will come
dazzling, the light
rise from the belly of leaves and pour
burning from the cups
The mockingbird squawks
from his perch, fidgets,
and settles back. The snail, awake
for good, tremble from his shell
and sets sail for China. My hand dances
in the memory of a million vanished stars.
A man has every place to lay his head.
Request more of Philip Levine's works here.