Denise Levertov

(24 October 1923 – 20 December 1997 / Ilford, Essex)

Denise Levertov
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Denise Levertov was a British-born American poet.

Biography

Born in Ilford, Essex, England, her mother, Beatrice Spooner-Jones Levertoff, was Welsh. Her father, Paul Levertoff, immigrated to England from Germany, was a Russian Hassidic Safardic Jew who became an Anglican priest. While being educated at home, Levertov showed an enthusiasm for writing from an early age. When she was five years old, she said later in life, she declared she would be a writer. At the age of 12, she sent some of her poems to T. S. Eliot, who replied with a two-page letter of encouragement. In 1940, when she was 17, Levertov published her first poem.

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Quotations

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  • The poem has a social effect of some kind whether or not the poet wills it to have. It has kinetic force, it sets in motion ... [ellipsis in source] elements in the reader that would otherwise be stag...
    Denise Levertov (b. 1923), U.S. poet. As quoted in Against Forgetting, sect. 5, by Carolyn Forche (1993). Written in 1965, during the Vietnam War;...
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Comments about Denise Levertov

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  • Rookie Paul Ricard (2/19/2010 9:50:00 AM)

    i've never read anything about her before, but this morning I happened upon a poem of her's, 'Aware' which has sent my heart soaring. So beautiful! ! !

    Is there anyway that I could write to her, e-mail or regular? ? ? Please let me know, I want to thank her and tell her that I am looking forward to more readings of her poetry in the near future. Such a beautiful poem.

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Best Poem of Denise Levertov

What Were They Like?

Did the people of Viet Nam
use lanterns of stone?
Did they hold ceremonies
to reverence the opening of buds?
Were they inclined to quiet laughter?
Did they use bone and ivory,
jade and silver, for ornament?
Had they an epic poem?
Did they distinguish between speech and singing?

Sir, their light hearts turned to stone.
It is not remembered whether in gardens
stone gardens illumined pleasant ways.
Perhaps they gathered once to delight in blossom,
but after their children were killed
there were no more buds.
Sir, laughter is bitter to the burned ...

Read the full of What Were They Like?

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