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Philip Levine at ZĂłcalo Public Square in Fresno


ZĂłcalo in Fresno
Is Social Isolation a Threat to Democracy?

Photos courtesy ZĂłcalo Public Square

U.S. Poet Laureate Philip Levine talks about social isolation, democracy, and beer drinking on Lake Erie
  © Dalton Runberg


Philip Levine is the outgoing United States poet laureate. Before a conversation in Fresno—where he’s lived and taught for decades—about democracy in America today, he talked about his ugly artificial foot, why he won’t eat sushi, and the pranks he pulled growing up with an identical twin.

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U.S. Poet Laureate Philip Levine thinks that democracy in America today is “unhealthy” and “a wreck.” Yet in a wide-ranging, often raucous conversation with Sacramento Bee editorial page editor Stuart Leavenworth, he also proclaimed himself “sanguine” about America, and in particular about the level of engagement and community in the cities he calls home: Fresno and New York. The question Leavenworth tasked Levine with for the evening—as part of the Zócalo/Cal Humanities “Searching for Democracy Series,” at Frank’s Place in Fresno—was whether the country’s increasing social isolation is a threat to democracy. Yes and no, Levine answered.

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To watch the whole Philip Levine-Stuart Leavenworth conversation, click here

Eye all the Flickr photos right here

Philip Levine reads “Mingus At the Half Note”


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