Jewish writer Philip Levine named as US poet laureate

By Jennifer Lipman, August 10, 2011
Philip Levine

Philip Levine

A Jewish writer has been named as the new poet laureate of the United States.

Philip Levine, 83, will start his role as the country's 18th poet laureate in October.

Mr Levine, whose parents were Russian-Jewish immigrants, has won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.

He is known for his work about his native city, Detroit, as well as poems on the plight of the working class and the trials of ordinary life.

The poet laureate position has been filled by a number of Jewish poets in the past, including Joseph Brodsky and Stanley Kunitz.

Mr Levine will receive £21,000 for a year in the position, for which he is required to write poems in tune with the national mood and events.

James H Billington, the librarian of congress, said Mr Levine was one of America's great narrative poets.

Last updated: 3:25pm, August 10 2011