Denise Levertov

Comments & Themes


    • Can socially- and politically-committed poetry retain the minimum requirements to be considered good poetry?


    • Is the American vernacular idiom something that can be learned and mastered? Use examples from Levertov's poetry.


    • Levertov displays a fascinating alertness to the external world, making intense use of all five senses. Find examples in the poems selected in this website.


    • The influence of William Carlos Williams is clearly visible is some Levertov. How does that relate to her Americanness?


    • After her 1950s association with the trio Duncan-Olson-Creeley, Levertov's early formal verse experienced a projectivist influence. To what extent does this make her a Black Mountain poet?


    • Do you agree that form in her poetry is but an extension of content? Why were proto-imagist/objectivist poets more prone to accept the Projective Verse agenda?


    • Is the abundance and variety of political concerns in Levertov's post 1960s poetry detrimental to her interest as a poet? Can you relate this to your experience with other poets of similar orientation (the Spanish Generation of 27, Neruda, etc)?


    • Would you agree that Levertov eventually overcame the difficulties of dealing with her social commitment and mastered a poetry of balanced maturity?