Philip Levine’s essay “Entering Poetry,” describes the day he began writing about the people he had worked with in Detroit auto factories. “When I closed my eyes and looked into the past, I did not see the blazing color of the forges of nightmare or the torn faces of the workers. I didn’t hear the deafening ring of metal on metal. ” Instead, he sees the people, “the men and women of enormous sensitivity, delicacy, consideration,” who even in “those terrible places designed to rob us of our bodies and our spirits” could find a way to “sustain each other.”
Philip Levine, The Bread of Time: Toward and Autobiography (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2001), 89.