Found Poetry Prompt: Philip Levine

US Poet Laureate Philip Levine
US Poet Laureate Philip Levine, photo (c) Frances Levine

US Poet Laureate Philip Levine, photo (c) Frances Levine

On August 10, Philip Levine was named the next poet laureate of the United States. According to Librarian of Congress James Billington, “Philip Levine is one of America’s great narrative poets. 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.”

This week’s prompt is Philip Levine.

This week, try writing a cento or other found poem derived from the poems of Philip Levine. Check out the following sites which host some of Levine’s poems to get started:

We love to see what you come up with! Post your poem or a link to your poem in the comments section below.


  • August 21, 2011


    My attempt, “A Cento for Philip Levine”:

  • August 21, 2011

    Scott Stoller


    The first time she drew blood,
    I learned she listens, and hears nothing.

    I burned my clothes, I moved,
    I changed my name…

    Here the mind beholds the mind
    as it shall be in the end.

    The clouds have seen it all,
    blowing relentlessly in
    from that nameless ocean.
    Rain was promised, but never arrived.

    If I live forever,
    I could give her a rope of genuine pearls,
    give flower and fruit
    longer than I care to think about,

    return out of air and water,
    a single lucid meteor
    fallen slowly from nowhere,
    reach into that magic circle
    and not be burned,

    read slowly
    from The Book of Job
    until the windows pale,
    in the memory of a million vanished stars.

    The poem samples Philip Levine’s A Sleepless Night, A Theory of Prosody, A Woman Waking, Among Children, Berenda Slough, Bitterness, Call it Music, Clouds, Clouds Above the Sea, Detroit Grease Shop Poem, Everything, Fist, For the Country, and Green Thumb.

  • August 25, 2011

    Jess P

    Lost Love

    She remembered or yearned.
    “I found you whole.
    I find you in these tears,
    and it would do no good.
    I will never make it”
    Now she shakes her head,
    shakes him away,
    and she’s herself.
    Something began here
    and nothing comes back.

    My poem combines lines from In the New Sun, Father, Heaven, A Woman Waking, Late Moon, and My Fathers, The Baltic.

  • […] at The Found Poetry Review they ask us to try writing a cento or other found poem derived from the poems of Philip Levine. For […]

  • August 26, 2011


    I think, yet it will come (A Sleepless Night)
    I could feel the darkness fill (At Bessemer)
    We’re all here to count
    (A single lucid meteor
    fallen slowly from
    nowhere and burning on
    his skin like a tear. (Detroit Grease Shop)

  • […] of lines from Philip Levine for   The wind, who leaves nothing to chance spoke the incomprehensible syllable of wind, giving off […]

  • […] made this comic as a response to the Found Poetry Review’s prompt for a found poem using the words of Philip Levine (the recently declared Poet Laureate of the […]

  • August 28, 2011


    Almost ran out of time… Here’s my contribution, a comic using words from Levine:

  • April 1, 2012


    can anyone give me a poem or a poem website about love poems, where a couple is fighting but they work it out? or just any love poem. I rly need to be inspired

    • April 30, 2012


      Read “The Two” by Philip Levine.