Denise Levertov

Denise Levertov

About Denise Levertov

Denise Levertov was a famous british-born american poet. When she was five years old 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. During the Blitz, Levertov served in London as a civilian nurse. Her first book, The Double Image, was published six years later. In 1947, she met and married American writer Mitchell Goodman and moved with him to the United States the following year. Although Levertov and Goodman would eventually divorce in 1975, they did have one son, Nikolai, together and lived mainly in New York City, summering in Maine. In 1955, she became a naturalised American citizen.
Levertov's first two books had comprised poems written in traditional forms and language. But as she accepted the US as her new home and became more and more fascinated with the American idiom, she began to come under the influence of the Black Mountain poets and most importantly William Carlos Williams. Her first American book of poetry, Here and Now, shows the beginnings of this transition and transformation. Her poem With Eyes at the Back of Our Heads established her reputation. Levertov wrote and published 24 books of poetry, and also criticism and translations. She also edited several anthologies. Among her many awards and honours, she received the Shelley Memorial Award, the Robert Frost Medal the Lenore Marshall Prize, the Lannan Award, a Catherine Luck Memorial Grant, a grant from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. From these 24 books, we have selected two dozen of her best and most beautiful poems from various topics especially religious which influenced more her life especially from her conversion from Jewish confession to Christianity.

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