Poetry as any other art work is part of the fabric of everyday life; it has been used by many artists to discover humanity in them and their connection as well as to speak out their feelings to their audience. Poetry is an autonomous language that uses with a lot of freedom to express the author's mind. It has also been used to challenge the social vices or even to criticize way the way of life that goes against humanity or even to question authority in power. It is a powerful tool that has always been used by most artists to preach the gospel of truth, justice and equality among the members of a given society with the leaders holding positions.
In the 1930s, Philip a son of a Russian-Jewish immigrants, was born and grew up in industrial Detroit. Levine a former poet laureate of the United States is remembered for his pieces of art works. At the age of five the father died leaving the family hard up and this forced him to engage himself on what he referred to as 'stupid jobs'. Like any other artist would use the raw materials available, his working experience in the factory, interaction with family friends, mentors and his assimilation with the Spanish civil war gave his poetry an insightful uncertainty in regard to conformist American ideals. He admits that he had been in contact with people of vast personality, sweetness, liking, courage and strength. He also thumps up the heroes who struggled against fascism as well as the ordinary folks who worked at hopeless jobs simply to stave off poverty. To show appreciation, he has always mentioned them in between the dedication and the title of the poem. Like in his work 'The mercy' that was written upon the death of his mother, he talks about all those who influenced and informed his own passage throughout his life such as his favorite artists, factory co-workers and musicians.
After the death of his father, he was left with no otherwise, but instead he had to sell his labour force in the company within the industrial area to ensure that his twin brother and the mother survive. He continued to work and got compelled to write to criticize the bourgeoisies' way of accumulation of capital and taking control over the other means of production. Due to anger Philip was unable to do his pieces of art. This is because he believed much on his fellow laureate's quote, William Wordsworth: 'Poetry is made up of emotion recollected in tranquility', but with him he had no any tranquility. Levine was upset with regime of the time, he was also aware that they were being oppressed and exploited, and it was seen as a tradition for them to engage in such 'lazy' jobs. This characterized most of his works that were driven by anger, which provided him with a lot of energy to keep him moving and write the best poems. . He tried to be personal as much as possible. Even though he loved poems and talked more about love poems, poems of horror, poems about the experiencing of America; the poems that depicted the dark side of their society in terms of exploitation took the center stage and are still weighty. He is rated as one of those poets whose work is so expressively powerful, and yet so prohibited, so concentrated, that the accumulative effect of reading a number of his related poems can be devastating.
Phillip Levine in his pieces of art work portrayed the fidelity of real life that depicted things accurately just the way they happened. His was work was based on social realism, he tried to talk about the rotten society, a society that was made of structures based on how much an individual owns This was in bid to rebuff the orthodoxy and bourgeois principle; he was in quest of fighting them artistically and socially and trying to sensitize the public and their way of viewing things. As a young artist he made a vow to agitate for the rights of his fellow workers and prayed to God sustain and give him more strength to sail through. Up to date his works still talks for the vulnerable men and women working in industrial site all over the world. In his work 'What Work Is' that was one of the best pieces at that time; he is convicted and speaks with a powerful clarity and authenticity. He is bold in confronting the terribly damaged conditions affecting American laborers, whose circumstance has perhaps never been more wrecked.
His poems were ironically used to depict the industrial revolution. This is a period that looked as people as tools, they were forced to work for long hours with little or no pay at all. There is no sympathy of the age whether tender or too old to work, as a young boy of fourteen years work in a harsh condition with people he would rather refer to as grandfathers who should wait to be feed; there was no division of labor. The poems shows an abnormal social consciousness and commitment of the artist with the laborers averted faces and their health conditions in their places of work; his main aim is to try to promote equality and the worth of human life through his works.
His work showed maturity and simplicity in the way he spoke to the common man and that is why they can easily be distinguished from other people- his diction and the rhythmic style is simple to be followed by the ordinary citizen. The speech, language that he uses, and the narrative progressions are never so complicated. The poems covered and displayed style and efficiency as was witnessed in the wide range of problems facing the majority in the society; he deals with subjects such as courage, love, death, and manhood among others. In reference to his work 'They Feed they Lion', he says he was prompted to write following his return to Detroit when there was workers revolution. He says he was part of the problem and he understands better what the workers are going through as he has also been part of it. 'I discovered in the language of that day that I was part of the problem, not part of the solution. I was now middle aged, I was middle class and I am white. And I was some degree over-whelmed.
Philip's works were used symbolically to show how the serfs lived by the power of their labor against the rich land owners who owned all the factors of production, and yet still had to accumulate more by exploiting and oppressing the poor. He is also giving pieces of advice to his readers a quick look into his thoughts on life by reviving the dead, he clearly gives his audience lessons on living even though it appeared more authoritative when he openly confronts the social vices, his poem 'Breath'.
Chances are that Philip Levine will ever remain the best poet whose pieces of art still have impact on the lives of many worldwide. With the freedom that artists have, he has been able to express his feelings; he has been able to question the then regime that was in power. He is credited for having called for truth, justice and equality among the members of a given society with the leaders holding positions. Through his work he has been able to liberate human kind, more so the serfs who have faced oppression and exploitation for ages.
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