This first full-length biography of Anglo- American poet and activist Denise Levertov (1923-1997) brings to life one of the major voices of the second half of the twentieth century, when American poetry was a powerful influence worldwide. Drawing on exhaustive archival research and interviews with 75 friends of Levertov, as well as on Levertov's entire opus, Donna Krolik Hollenberg's authoritative biography captures the full complexity of Levertov as both woman and artist, and the dynamic world she inhabited. She charts Levertov's early life in England as the daughter of a Russian Hasidic father and a Welsh mother, her experience as a nurse in London during WWII, her marriage to an American after the war, and her move to New York City where she became a major figure in the American poetry scene. The author chronicles Levertov's role as a passionate social activist in volatile times and her importance as a teacher of writing. Finally, Hollenberg shows how the spiritual dimension of Levertov's poetry deepened toward the end of her life, so that her final volumes link lyric perception with political and religious commitment.
Donna Hollenberg is a Professor of English at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. She is the author of H.D.: The Poetics of Childbirth and Creativity and the editor of Between History and Poetry: The Letters of H.D. and Norman Holmes Pearson and HD and Poets After.
Acknowledgements Prologue PART ONE. LISTENING TO DISTANT GUNS (1923--1948) 1. "The Walls of the Garden, the First Light": Beginnings (1923--1933) 2. "When Anna Screamed": Levertov's Response to Nazi Oppression (1933--1939) 3. The Double Image: Apprenticeship during World War II (1939--1946) 4. "Recoveries": Abortion, Adventure, and Marriage (1947--1948) PART TWO. A COMMON GROUND (1949--1966) 5. "Dancing Edgeways": Coming of Age as a Poet in the New World (1949--1955) 6. "The True Artist": Levertov's Engagement with Tradition (1954--1960) 7. "The Poem Ascends": Taking a Postion (1960--1963) 8. "To Speak of Sorrow": Levertov's Emergence as a Social Poet (1963--1966) PART THREE. LIFE AT WAR (1966--1974) 9. "Revolution or Death": Living in the Movement (1966--1970) 10. "The Freeing of the Dust": The Revolution Hits Home (1970--1974) PART FOUR. SLEEPERS AWAKE (1975--1988) 11. "A Woman Alone": Beginning Again (1975--1981) 12. "The Task": Social Protest and Liberation Theology (1982--1988) PART FIVE. RESETTLING (1989--1997) 13. "Of Shadow and Flame": The Re-cognition of Identity (1989--1992) 14: "Beauty Growls from the Fertile Dark": Facing Death (1992--1997) Notes Bibliography Acknowledgment of Permissions Index
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