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The Writers Forum at SUNY Brockport

Denise Levertov -- poet

Host(s): Wiliam Heyen and Anthony Piccione

Tape order number: C-432

Visit Date: October 3, 1970

Length: 1 hour

Published as:

  • "A Conversation with Denise Levertos." Edited by Anthony Piccione. Ironwood 4 (1974): 21-34.

Brief Summary: Levertov talks against the stereotypes of "masculine" and "feminine" sensibilities in poetry and applauds the efforts of the feminist and gay liberation movements to develop new definitions of what it means to be a man or a woman. She argues that although the subject matter may differ between the sexes, the structures of poetry know no gender. She also discounts the relevancy of the divisions between "cooked," academic poetry and "raw," imagistic poetry. Levertov is concerned with form and craft, and talks at length about the conjunction of the interior and the exterior as fundamental to the creation of organic poetry.

Work(s) Discussed:

  • "The Mutes"
  • "Hypocrite Woman"
  • Footprints To Stay Alive

Work(s) Read:

  • "Bread"
  • "A Solitude"

Writers mentioned:

  • W.C. Williams
  • R. Creeley
  • R. Duncan
  • G. Kinnell
  • S. Corman
  • J. Leed
  • C. Olson
  • P. Blackburn
  • R. Lowell
  • J.G. Whittier
  • P. Olovsky
  • A. Ginsberg

It's the responsibility of the poet to try to develop an objective sense of their good poems and their less good poems.

-- Denise Levertov

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