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Denise Levertov

“At the Political Front”: Affirming Levertov’s Poetics of Witness

“I have tended to read Denise Levertov for the news, thinking of her, more than any other American poet, as a reporter or witness at the political front.” – Patricia Hampl “A Witness of Our Time” 167 I would like to end my section on Levertov with a moment of affirmation, seeking finally to reclaim […]

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Denise Levertov

“It doesn’t cohere”: Read-ing Levertov as Anarchist

Of course, my very inclusion of Denise Levertov in this project, especially in this section alongside the self-professed anarchists John Cage, Jackson Mac Low, and Robert Duncan, is both contentious and strange, and requires, I should think, some explanation. It is probably inarguable that Levertov was never an anarchist, although she was certainly an ardent […]

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Denise Levertov

“I multitude:” The Self in Levertov’s Poetry

As I noted in my previous plateau, Denise Levertov’s conception of a poetic writing-self behind her poetry is integral to both the aesthetic and political dimensions of her work. In terms of a postanarchist reading practice, Levertov’s reliance on a seemingly monadic idea of the authorial self is one that, in many ways, runs counter […]

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Denise Levertov

“The truth / in fractions”: Levertov’s Postmodern-ish Poetics

I return, in this section, to my claims in my final plateau on Duncan, than his work was much more affected by the rise of postmodernism than Levertov’s. While I may not have treated it so at the time, this is, in fact, a contentious claim, and one that contradicts much of the scholarship surrounding […]

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Denise Levertov

“While We Sleep” / “I hear”: Communal Readership and Expressive Authorship in Denise Levertov’s The Jacob’s Ladder

“One of the political things poetry, whether or not overtly political in its content, can do is to reveal that unity, that trembling web of being.” – Denise Levertov, “Poetry, Prophecy, Survival” 153 In light of Duncan’s approaches to active readership, we must then read Denise Levertov’s work as engaging an active readership, surely, but […]