Denise Levertov

Literary Birthday – 24 October – Denise Levertov

Denise Levertov was born 24 October 1923 and died 20 December 1997.


  1. Both art and faith are dependent on imagination; both are ventures into the unknown.
  2. A poet articulating the dreads and horrors of our time is necessary in order to make readers understand what is happening, really understand it, not just know about it but feel it: and should be accompanied by a willingness on the part of those who write it to take additional action towards stopping the great miseries which they record.
  3. Grief is a hole you walk around in the daytime and at night you fall into it.
  4. I believe every space and comma is a living part of the poem and has its function, just as every muscle and pore of the body has its function. And the way the lines are broken is a functioning part essential to the life of the poem.
  5. In certain ways writing is a form of prayer.
  6. One of the obligations of the writer is to say or sing all that he or she can, to deal with as much of the world as becomes possible to him or her in language.
  7. Very few people really see things unless they’ve had someone in early life who made them look at things. And name them too. But the looking is primary, the focus.
  8. Writing poetry is a process of discovery…you can smell the poem before you see it….
  9. It is fatal to one’s artistic life to talk about something this is in process.

Denise Levertov was an American poet. She created a body of poetry that reflected her beliefs as an artist and a humanist. Her Selected Poems include nature lyrics, love poems, protest poetry, and poetry inspired by her faith in God. Find out more about Denise at My Poetic Side.


Elsa Dorfman, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 24th October 2017