Denise Levertov (1923 – 1997) was born in England to a Welsh mother and a Jewish Russian immigrant father who would convert to Christianity and become an Anglican priest. Her mother read nineteenth century English literature to Denise and her siblings, and her father collected a library of important books in Hebrew, Russian, German, and English. Other than primary and secondary school, this was her only education. At the age of twelve, she sent a poem to T.S. Eliot and received, in return, a two-page typewritten letter containing, in her words, “excellent advice.”
Her poetic voice was distinctly American despite the fact she didn’t move to America until she was twenty-five and it was generally free from literary allusion despite her early brush with Anglo-American Eliot. Ralph S. Mills, writing in Poets in Progress, said she offers “a tour through the familiar and the mundane until their unfamiliarity and otherworldliness suddenly strikes us.”
Levertov has become a favorite of fine press printers and editions of her work have been made by the Black Sparrow Press (1968), the Perishable Press (1969), the Five Trees Press (1977), the Copper Canyon Press (1981), the Brooding Heron Press (1991), and others.
Books by Denise Levertov available from Boreas Fine Art:
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