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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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Bearing Witness

Bearing Witness


(p.199) 11 Bearing Witness
Denise Levertov

Dana Greene

University of Illinois Press

This chapter details the life and career of Denise Levertov from 1993 to 1996. In early May 1993, after her decision to retire from Stanford, she learned that a biopsy of an ulcer revealed she might have non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Paradoxically this news was energizing and prompted her to resolve to use her time well. She felt grateful she had been given the chance to experience beauty and to enrich the lives of many wonderful friends. Life had not cheated her, and she had no regrets. She was particularly thankful that she had enough financial resources to pass on to her son Nikolai. Retired, and with looming health problems, Levertov was unwilling to put energy into anything other than writing, poetry readings, and deepening her spiritual life. She did not want to return to protest activity, both because of her disappointment in others and fear of what she called her own “knee-jerk” reaction to political issues.

Keywords:   Denise Levertov, writing, poetry readings, women poets, poetry, spiritual life

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