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Denise Levertov

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

Quotations

  • ''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 stagnant.''
    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; Levertov was active in the movement opposing American involvement in that war.
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Contraband

The tree of knowledge was the tree of reason.
That's why the taste of it
drove us from Eden. That fruit
was meant to be dried and milled to a fine powder
for use a pinch at a time, a condiment.
God had probably planned to tell us later
about this new pleasure.
We stuffed our mouths full of it,
gorged on but and if and how and again

[Hata Bildir]