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Denise LevertovA Poet's Life$
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Dana Greene

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037108

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037108.001.0001

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“A Definite and Peculiar Destiny”

“A Definite and Peculiar Destiny”


(p.5) 1 “A Definite and Peculiar Destiny”
Denise Levertov

Dana Greene

University of Illinois Press

This chapter details the early life of Denise Levertov. Denise was born in Ilford, on October 24, 1923, to Beatrice Spooner-Jones and Paul Levertoff. Her older sister Olga was nine. Eight months after Denise's birth the Levertoffs bought five-bedroom, brick, semidetached house at 5 Mansfield Road in Ilford not far from Lenox Gardens and nearby Cranbrook Road, the main street, and close to the large Valentine and Wanstead parks. The Levertoff household was a hive of activity. Since neither daughter attended school, everyone was generally at home. They had few connections to the surrounding community and no extended family with whom they regularly interacted. Their Welsh, Russian, and Jewish cultural origins set them apart. Nonetheless, wayfarers of every sort—Jewish booksellers, Russian and German scholars, musicians, and Jewish refugees all passed through their home. Everyone in the family read, to themselves and to others. Every room of the house was filled with books, some of which were bought by Paul Levertoff as a secondhand “lot” from Sotheby's.

Keywords:   Denise Levertov, women poets, childhood, early life, Beatrice Spooner-Jones, Paul Levertoff

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