"You have to remember this isn't your land.
It belongs to no one, like the sea you once lived beside
and thought was yours. Remember the small boats
that bobbed out as the waves rode in, and the men
who carved a living from it only to find themselves
carved down to nothing. Now you say this is home,
so go ahead, worship the mountains as they dissolve in dust,
wait on the wind, catch a scent of salt, call it our life."

— Philip Levine, from "Our Valley"


"As for Keats, I think he inherited an aesthetic that only allowed him to write about lovely things. Whereas Lorca inherited an aesthetic that allowed him to write about anything—even what he didn't understand. And that was one of the wonderful things that I got from him, and later got from Pablo Neruda—the idea that you could go after these very powerful centers of feeling in you, even if you couldn't parse them."

— Philip Levine, from a 1999 interview in The Atlantic

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