Philip Levine, a former Detroit autoworker and product of Detroit Public has been named the U.S. Poet Laureate for 2011-12.
Levine, 83, who graduated from Central High School (1946) and Wayne State University (1950), left Detroit in the 1950s to study in Iowa. While he has lived for years in Fresno, Calif., his poetry often has been anchored in the city of his birth and his working-class Jewish roots.
Levine will be the 18th poet laureate and was chosen by the Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington. "His plainspoken lyricism has, for half a century, championed the art of telling 'The Simple Truth' — about working in a Detroit auto factory, as he has, and about the hard work we do to make sense of our lives," said Billington in a statement.