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Denise Levertov : the poetry of engagement

Author: Audrey T Rodgers
Publisher: Rutherford, N.J. : Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, ; London ; Cranbury, NJ : Associated University Presses, ©1993.
Edition/Format:   Book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
This study is concerned with both Denise Levertov's social consciousness as manifested in her earliest poetry and with her growth as a "poet in the world." Early in her career, Levertov was highly praised as a lyric poet of considerable sensitivity whose poems were succinct (at times mystical, at times sensuous) and whose technical gifts were impeccable. During the height of her emergence as a political dissident  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Criticism, interpretation, etc
History
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Rodgers, Audrey T.
Denise Levertov.
Rutherford, N.J. : Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, ; London ; Cranbury, NJ : Associated University Presses, c1993
(OCoLC)645859660
Named Person: Denise Levertov; Denise Levertov; Denise Levertov
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Audrey T Rodgers
ISBN: 083863494X 9780838634943
OCLC Number: 26399213
Description: 237 p. : port. ; 25 cm.
Contents: Introduction: "Make truth real to us" --
A portrait of the artist in the twentieth century: "as never before ..." --
The poet and the poem: "... what lies at hand" --
Early poems and "awareness": "Westward through danger to the shores of peace" --
Vietnam and the sixties: "la selva oscura" --
Poems of the seventies: echoes and footprints --
Recent poetry: lighting candles in Babylon.
Responsibility: Audrey T. Rodgers.

Abstract:

This book demonstrates the consistency in Levertov's poetry, a pattern, even as the trajectory of her interests widened, and is concerned with both her social consciousness and her growth as a poet  Read more...

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schema:description"This study is concerned with both Denise Levertov's social consciousness as manifested in her earliest poetry and with her growth as a "poet in the world." Early in her career, Levertov was highly praised as a lyric poet of considerable sensitivity whose poems were succinct (at times mystical, at times sensuous) and whose technical gifts were impeccable. During the height of her emergence as a political dissident during the Vietnam War, the "Orphic" poet was seen as having traded aesthetics for polemics. Audrey T. Rodgers works to disprove the assumption that art and politics are mutually exclusive entities in Levertov's work. Through careful analysis of Levertov's social verse, she demonstrates that there is a consistency and pattern in what the artist herself has termed the "poems of engagement." Denise Levertov began her career in England as a lyric poet in the Romantic mode, but even then was touched by the reductive nature of war, revealed in her first published poem, "Listening to Distant Guns." During the mid-1960s Levertov's social conscience, notably her strong antiwar sentiment, was reawakened by the Vietnam War. This reawakening resulted in several volumes of poetry that mirrored her concerns with the war (and political activism at home) and her perplexity at the nature of human beings - often great and compassionate, but at times cruel and insensitive. There exists a common thread in Levertov's pilgrimage from her beginning as a lyric poet to her status as an artist definitively in the world: she has always responded to everything within the compass of her experience. From To Stay Alive to The Jacob's Ladder and The Sorrow Dance - from Relearning the Alphabet to O Taste and See, Footprints, and Life in the Forest - Levertov covers a wide range of emotion. Sorrow, joy and celebration, empathy, perplexity, rage, and despair are treated to be sure, but overriding is a hope and profound sensitivity to beauty amid chaos. This appreciation of beauty is central to her later volumes - Candles in Babylon, Oblique Prayers, Breathing the Water, and A Door in the Hive - as well. In these, Levertov does not ignore social injustice, yet manages to inspire through images of nature, a search for a transcendent faith, and an exploration of human potential, love, and friendship."@en
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