Denise Levertov: A Poet's Life


Product Details

University of Illinois Press
Publish Date
6.4 X 9.4 X 1.2 inches | 1.55 pounds

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About the Author

Dana Greene is Dean Emerita of Oxford College of Emory University. Her other books include Evelyn Underhill: Artist of the Infinite Life and The Living of Maisie Ward.


"Aptly titled A Poet's Life, this biography gives due attention to Levertov's work and the woman who wrote it."--Washington Times

"This impressive study is the first complete biography of [Denise Levertov]."--Library Journal

"This absorbing book is must reading for lovers of American literature, particularly by women, and contemporary poetry. Essential."--Choice"Greene's admiration for, and empathy with, Levertov is clear throughout this very readable book."--The Tablet

"Brings alive the writer's lifetime vocation as a 'celebrant of Mystery'. . . . Greene, who has written lives of other spiritual thinkers like Evelyn Underhill and Maisie Ward, shows from Levertov's private diaries and journals the close connection between her personal struggles, her poetic maturaltion and her spiritual transformation."--America Magazine

"Greene has done us all a service with this much awaited and essential portrait of a major figure in American Literature. . . . Greene does a brilliant job of identifying this lifelong spiritual quest of Levertov as a central movement of her life, and connects these deep personal ties to family to the poems, thus revealing the life through the work and the work through the life. . . . Greene creates exactly the kind of biography that Levertov would have wanted--and we so needed."--New York Journal of Books

"Gracefully written and eminently readable, this book provides a much-needed biography of Denise Levertov. Offering an impressive and compelling account of the crucial events of Levertov's life, Dana Greene illuminates invaluable connections between the poet's interior life and her work."--Angela Alaimo O'Donnell, author of Saint Sinatra and Other Poems

"Greene's book is filled with 20th-century poets--and Catholic spiritual leaders who peopled the church before, during and after the Second Vatican Council. To be read and savored."--National Catholic Reporter

Dana Greene's biography of Denise Levertov is fully informed and very readable. But what distinguishes this account is that Greene has assimilated the biographical facts and a reading of Levertov's poetry and prose into a full and rounded understanding of the course of Levertov's life and her poetic development as a pilgrimage and quest, religious in its origins. The result is an authoritative portrait of one of the central figures in American poetry of the last fifty years.--Albert Gelpi, coeditor of The Letters of Robert Duncan and Denise Levertov
Greene succeeds in showing how Levertov's poetic development was a kind of spiritual quest ... a complete and balanced view of the life of this major literary figure.--Today's American Catholic

"[Green's] prose is lucid and her narrative skillfully paced; her readings of the work are sound."--London Review of Books

At the heart of Dana Greene's portrait of Denise Levertov is the poet's conviction that the essential human faculty is the imagination and that the artist's life is 'one of obedience to vocation.' Considering each stage of the poet's life, Greene writes with clarity and grace of Levertov's intertwined active outer life and her contemplative, imaginative, emotional inner life. A thoughtful, sensitive, sensible reading of Levertov's life and work.--Harry Marten, author of Understanding Denise Levertov
Greene establishes with thorough, compassionate authority the most important facts of the life of Denise Levertov: She was a woman of her time, and a poet for all time.--The Rumpus