“Denise Levertov emerges as a person and a poet. . . . an authoritative and intimate biography.”
Dana Greene (Emory University), biographer of British spiritual thinker Evelyn Underhill and Catholic author and social activist Maisie Ward, is at home here with the life and work of British-American poet Denise Levertov.
Denise Levertov was all of the above as well of one of America’s finest and most prolific contemporary poets. Ms. Greene has done us all a service with this much awaited and essential portrait of a major figure in American literature.
The book was no easy task, as the poet often wrote and spoke about her abhorrence of biographers who play on gossip, asking instead that any biographer center her subject on the author’s or artist’s work.
The other challenge was that Ms. Greene, who had never met Levertov, had to base her personal portrait on interviews and writings with the author’s family, colleagues, lovers, and fellow poets, as well as Levertov’s self-revealing poetry and autobiographical writings. She does a remarkable job here of delicately delving into the author’s psyche and tumultuous life as well as following her spiritual questing while managing to center it all through a penetrating analysis of the writing.
Denise Levertov emerges as a person and a poet. Daughter and sister, wife and mother, lover and friend, fellow poet and teacher—she comes alive here in all of her triumphs and struggles due largely to Ms. Greene’s research and writing skills but also to the detailed Levertov archives housed mainly at Stanford University where Levertov taught in her final years.
Causes Larry Smith Supports
peace and justice, meditation