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Poet Laureate Philip Levine Will Speak at Bard College at Simon’s Rock Commencement


March 27, 2012

Contact: Karen Anderson
Associate Director of College Relations
413 528-7209

Alice Myers
Events Editor and Publicist
413 528-7209


Philip Levine

GREAT BARRINGTON, MA—United States Poet Laureate Philip Levine will deliver this year’s commencement address at Bard College at Simon’s Rock. Levine is known as an elder statesman of contemporary American poetry and the voice of ordinary people.

The author of 20 collections of poetry, Levine published his first collection, On the Edge in 1963 and went on to win the 1980 National Book Critics Circle Award for Ashes: Poems New and Old, and the 1991 National Book Award for What Work Is (1991). In 1995 he won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for The Simple Truth.

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced Levine’s appointment as the Library’s 18th Poet Laureate, describing him as "one of America’s great narrative poets." The poet will share his powerful message with the graduating class of 2012 on May 19, 2012.

Levine taught English for over thirty years at California State University, where he is now Professor Emeritus. He has held teaching positions at many universities including Tufts University, Columbia University, New York University, and Brown University and served for two years as chair of the Literature Panel of the National Endowment for the Arts.

After graduating from Wayne State University, Levine earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop at the University of Iowa, and in 1957 won the Jones Fellowship in Poetry at Stanford. His numerous honors include the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Harriet Monroe Memorial Prize from Poetry, the Frank O’Hara Prize, and two Guggenheim Foundation fellowships. Associated images available at

Bard College at Simon’s Rock ( has been a leader in the early college movement for more than 40 years and continues to distinguish itself as the only residential college in the country specifically designed to provide bright, highly motivated students with the opportunity to begin college immediately after the 10th or 11th grade. At Simon’s Rock, students experience a transformative education in the liberal arts and sciences in the company of smart, independent, creative peers who share their excitement about learning and their desire to be part of a vibrant intellectual community. Students who successfully complete the requirements receive the Associate in Arts (AA) degree after two years of study and the Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree after four.