DENISE LEVERTOV Biography - Famous Poets and dancers


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Denise Levertov is one of the most beloved, critically acclaimed and highly           
awarded poets in the English language (Knight 205). Her poetry is very prolific       
because it has gone through many stages from being New Romantic, feminist, avant-garde,
confessional, too humanitarian and showing concern with social issues during the       
Beat era.                                                                             
Born in 1923, in Essex, England, Denise Levertov decided to be a poet at age 5.       
She was home schooled by her parents, and her father was an Anglican priest. Her       
parents provided her with an excellent education; “Levertov’s upbringing in a         
nurturing home immersed in writing and many different languages was an ideal           
beginning for a poet” (Knight 207). At age twelve, she sent some of her poems to       
T.S Eliot, and he wrote back two pages of “excellent advice” for the talented,         
young poet. She published her first poem when she was sixteen (Brooker xiii).         
Denise spent three years as a nurse serving in World War II. In 1946, she             
published her first book of poetry The Double Image which focused on her               
sentimental feelings about the war. Two years later, she married American writer       
Mitchell Goodman and moved to the United States where she started to write with       
her new, American voice. Here and Now her second book of poetry, portrayed this       
new found voice.                                                                       
After her third book was published, With Eyes at the Back of Our Heads, she           
became a strong, popular, acclaimed American poet. “Levertov first made her mark       
as a poet in the late 1950s. Her poetry was recognized as distinctive and indeed       
brilliant” (Brooker xii). She also was influenced greatly by the Black Mountain       
Poets, which included Robert Duncan, Charles Olsen, and Robert Creeley. They           
founded the “1933 revolutionary albeit short-lived liberal arts school in North       
Carolina whose impact upon art and literature was monumental” (Knight). She was       
greatly influenced by their unique, “projectivist poetry wherein the writer           
projects herself via the poem through a free, natural flow of words instead of a       
formalist standard form of strict verse and meter” (Knight, 208). Her poetry           
began to take on many different styles, making it distinctive and incomparable.