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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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“Staying Alive”

“Staying Alive”


(p.94) 5 “Staying Alive”
Denise Levertov

Dana Greene

University of Illinois Press

This chapter details the life and career of Denise Levertov from 1968 to 1971. As “poet in the world,” Levertov's writing reflected the great social upheaval in American society in the late 1960s. But that upheaval, focused as it was on the Vietnam War, did not explain her sense of personal anxiety. Overwrought, fretful, and needy, she contemplated an accidental suicide. Her pain was exacerbated by the fact that she did not know its source or how to cure it. Now in her midforties, she had come to the surprising realization that there was something “green & undeveloped” in her. On the national level the events that galvanized Levertov were the war, and the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy.

Keywords:   Denise Levertov, women poets, Vietnam War, suicide, social upheaval, American society, assassination, Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy

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