Denise Levertov

Selected Poems

“I like to find what's not found at once...”

Denise Levertov (1923-1997) was a prominent Post-War poet. She was born in England but lived most of her life in the United States. Selected Poems spans her life’s work showcasing her interest in politics and war (she served in British civilian arm during WWII), in love and deep human emotion.

Levertov was part German, Jewish, Welsh and English and the lack of specific cultural legacy is strong in her self-oriented poems like “Pleasures,” and “Bedtime.” Perhaps that is what allows her to capture a universal sense of being and existence, as seen in “Action.” And furthermore a deep appreciation for things not being as they seem.

I first read Levertov eons (and eons ago) when I performed a dramatic interpretation of “A Tree Telling of Orpheus” in a high school drama competition. (I wiggled my fingertips for wind, that sort of eager young nonsense). I began a life-long love of Levertov’s poetry. I understand her feelings of not quite fitting in anywhere. It means that bits and pieces of us fit in everywhere.