Denise Levertov

Selected Criticism
Edited with an Introduction by Albert Gelpi
Illuminating reflections on the achievements of poet Denise Levertov


This volume provides the most extensive and balanced interpretation to date of Denise Levertov's work. Denise Levertov has been at the center of the American poetic scene since she came from England in the 1940s and remade herself as a poet in response to the ferment of American poetry in the postwar period. The book reviews, essays, and discussions collected here offer different views, perspectives, and judgments, but all confirm Levertov's recognition as one of the most important and influential, most respected and readable poets of the second half of the century.

The first section assembles selected reviews chronologically from Kenneth Rexroth's enthusiastic response to her first American collection, which brought her early attention, to a wide-ranging review by Donald Revell of her most recent book. Among the other distinguished reviewers are Marie Boroff, Hayden Carruth, Thom Gunn, Gilbert Sorrentino, Linda Wagner, and James Wright.

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Introduction: Centering the Double Image
Albert Gelpi     1

Part One Reviews

The Poetry of Denise Levertov
Kenneth Rexroth     11

With Eyes at the Back of Our Heads
Jean Garrigue     15

From "Gravity and Incantation"
James Wright     17

Measure of Maturity
Gilbert Sorrentino     20

From "Things, Voices, Minds"
Thom Gunn     23

An Informal Epic
Hayden Carruth     25

Review of Relearning the Alphabet (1970)
Sister Bernetta Quinn, O.S.F.     28

From "Recent Poetry"
Marie Borroff     30

Matters of the Here and Now
Linda Wagner Martin     32

Review of The Freeing of the Dust (1975)
David Ignatow     35

Review of Life in the Forest (1978)
Harry Marten     37

From "Geographies and Languages and Selves and What They Do"
Frederick Garber     41

From "Working Time"
Jane Miller     43

From "The Memory and Future of Ourselves"
Donald Revell     48

Denise Levertov
James E.B. Breslin     55

Two Notes on Denise Levertov and the Romantic Tradition
Albert Gelpi     91

Edge of the Transcendent: The Poetry of Levertov and Duncan
Rudolph L. Nelson     96

Inside and Outside in the Poetry of Denise Levertov
Diana Surman Collecott     110

Denise Levertov and the Limits of the Aesthetics of Presence
Charles Altieri     126

Part Three Politics

The Poetry of Political Anguish
Paul A. Lacey     151

Levertov's Political Poetry
Cary Nelson     162

A Witness of Our Time
Patricia Hampl     167

Denise Levertov's Prose
Daniel Berrigan, S.J.     173

Songs of Experience: Denise Levertov's Political Poetry
Lorrie Smith     177

Part Four Gender

Revolutionary Love: Denise Levertov and the Poetics of Politics
Sandra M. Gilbert     201

The Critique of Consciousness and Myth in Levertov, Rich, and Rukeyser
Rachel Blau Duplessis     218

Denise Levertov
George Bowering     243

Part Five Religion

Denise Levertov and the Truth of Myth
Robert Duncan     257

Denise Levertov's "Illustrious Ancestors": The Hassidic Influence
Joan F. Hallisey     260

Denise Levertov's Poetics and Oblique Prayers
Joyce Lorraine Beck     268

Denise Levertov in Pilgrimage
Denise Lynch     288

In the Garden: A Place of Creation
Edward Zlotkowski     303

Selected Bibliography
Barry Maxwell     321

Product Details

  • 5-1/2 x 8-1/2.
  • 344pp.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 1993
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-06416-8

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  • $24.95 U.S.