In August, Librarian of Congress James Billington announced Philip Levine as the new Poet Laureate for 2011-2012, making him the 18th recipient of this honor. Levine officially began his duties on October 17, by opening the Library of Congress’s literary season with a reading of his work.
In appointing Levine to this position, Billington was recognizing a lifetime of the poet’s scholarly and creative contributions, stretching back to the early 1960s. During that time he has written several books of poetry, translated collections of Spanish poetry, and authored works of literary criticism. Additionally, Levine has taught poetry for a number of years at California State University. He has also taught at New York University, Columbia, Princeton, Brown, and Tufts universities, and the University of California at Berkeley.
Rice Library contains several of Levine’s works in its print, electronic, and audiovisual collections. The CREDO reference database has multiple entries from various sources on Levine, the longest one coming from the Encyclopedia of American Poetry: The Twentieth Century. For additional biographical information, you might consult the Biography in Context database which will provide access to entries from reference works as well as journal, magazine, and news articles and audio pieces. The Literature Online (LION) database contains many Levine resources including full-text copies of several of his poems, a biographical sketch, a complete bibliography, literary criticism, and links to multiple web sites, including the Poetry Archive where one can listen to Levine read a selection of his poems.