News Of The World by Philip LevineNews Of The World by Philip Levine

News Of The World

byPhilip Levine

Paperback | February 15, 2011

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In this “characteristically wise” (The New York Times Book Review) collection from one of our most celebrated poets, Philip Levine brings us finely made, powerfully telling imagery from the worlds of hand, heart, and mind.
Philip Levine was born in 1928 in Detroit. He has received numerous awards for his poetry, including the National Book Award for What Work Is and the Pulitzer Prize for The Simple Truth. He divides his time between Fresno, California, and Brooklyn, New York.
Title:News Of The WorldFormat:PaperbackDimensions:80 pages, 9 × 5.97 × 0.21 inPublished:February 15, 2011Publisher:Knopf Doubleday Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0375711902

ISBN - 13:9780375711909


Read from the Book

OUR VALLEYWe don't see the ocean, not ever, but in July and August when the worst heat seems to rise from the hard clayof this valley, you could be walking through a fig orchardwhen suddenly the wind cools and for a momentyou get a whiff of salt, and in that moment you can almostbelieve something is waiting beyond the Pacheco Pass,something massive, irrational, and so powerful eventhe mountains that rise east of here have no word for it.You probably think I'm nuts saying the mountainshave no word for ocean, but if you live hereyou begin to believe they know everything.They maintain that huge silence we think of as divine,a silence that grows in autumn when snow fallsslowly between the pines and the wind diesto less than a whisper and you can barely catchyour breath because you're thrilled and terrified.You have to remember this isn't your land.It belongs to no one, like the sea you once lived besideand thought was yours. Remember the small boatsthat bobbed out as the waves rode in, and the menwho carved a living from it only to find themselvescarved down to nothing. Now you say this is home,so go ahead, worship the mountains as they dissolve in dust,wait on the wind, catch a scent of salt, call it our life.THE HEART OF OCTOBERDusk south of Barcelona, the slopesleading up to the fortress, a cityof wooden crates and cardboard shacksstaggers up the mountain as the rainruns down, a black river. The final night,I whisper to no one. A patch of red,the single moving thing, comes toward meto become the shirt of a young girl,eleven or twelve. Bare- legged, pickingher way to avoid the sharp stones,she reaches me. Through perfect teethin her perfect mouth she demands a duro,one hand held out. Only one duro,she insists, stamping a naked foot,browned and filthy on the filthy earth.When I pay up and turn for homeshe is beside me laughing as the rainstreams down her forehead, her short haira black cap plastered in place. "A duro! "she demands again. "Another?" I say."Yes, of course," she laughs into the faceof the rain, "and after that another."Even a child knows the meaning of rain:it is the gift of October, a giftthat arrives on time each autumnto darken the makeshift shacks and lightenthe hillside with a single splash of color.NEWS OF THE WORLDOnce we were out of Barcelona the road climbed past small farm-houses hunched down on the gray, chalky hillsides. The last personwe saw was a girl in her late teens in a black dress & gray aproncarrying a chicken upside down by the claws. She looked up &smiled. An hour later the land opened into enormous green meadows.At the frontier a cop asked in guttural Spanish almost as badas mine why were we going to Andorra. "Tourism," I said. Laughing,he waved us through. The rock walls of the valley were soabrupt the town was only a single street wide. Blue plumes ofsmoke ascended straight into the darkening sky. The next morningwe found what we'd come for: the perfect radio, French- made,portable, lightweight, slightly garish with its colored dial &chromed knobs, inexpensive. "Because of the mountains, receptionis poor," the shop owner said, so he tuned in the local Communiststation beamed to Spain. "Communist?" I said. Oh yes, they'dcome twenty- five years ago to escape the Germans, & they'd stayed."Back then," he said, "we were all reds." "And now?" I said. Nowhe could sell me anything I wanted. "Anything?" He nodded. Atall, graying man, his face carved down to its essentials. "A Cadillac?"I said. Yes, of course, he could get on the phone & have it outfront— he checked his pocket watch— by four in the afternoon."An American film star?" One hand on his unshaved cheek, hegazed upward at the dark beamed ceiling. "That could take a week."From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

“All the earmarks of a valedictory testament, what with its autumnal ruminations on personal history and its haunted remembrances of things past, yet Levine is too canny a craftsman to settle for dutiful curtain calls, and too much the hard-bitten ironist to fall prey to false nostalgia. If certain obsessions here are bound to strike longtime readers as old news (innocence and experience, manual labor and class struggle), the visceral language that fleshes the poems out still feels hot off the press.” —David Barber, The Boston Globe