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American Literary Studies

Denise Levertov Papers

The Papers

Location: Department of Special Collections, Green Library

Call Number: M0601

Size: 148 linear ft., plus 30 unprocessed cartons

Finding Guide: A printed version is available in the reading room of the Department of Special Collections. Electronic versions of this finding guide are also available. If you have Microsoft's Internet Explorer version 6.0 or higher, click here to connect to the XML version on the Stanford server; if not, click here for the html version on the Online Archives of California server.

Research Access and Use: Materials in the Department of Special Collections are non-circulating and must be used in the Special Collections' Reading Room in the Cecil H. Green Library. The Reading Room is open 10:00am to 5:00pm Monday through Friday. Photocopies, photographs, and microfilm can be made of some materials in the collections. For more information about the collections and access policies, please contact Special Collections by telephone at (650) 725-1022, by electronic mail at or by regular mail at the Department of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, California 94305-6004.

Career of Denise Levertov (1923-1997)

Born in England of Welsh and Russian parents, Levertov was a recognized figure in postwar British poetry before emigrating to the United States in 1948 and adopting US citizenship in 1955. Influenced by such American poets as William Carlos Williams and Robert Duncan, Levertov moved away from the fixed forms of English practice, developing an open, experimental style. With the publication of her first American book, Here and Now (1956), Levertov became an important voice in this country's avant-garde. A longtime teacher in Stanford's Creative Writing Program, Levertov was a poet of lyric intensity and social conscience. Themes of political justice became prominent in her poetry during the 1960s, when the Vietnam War energized her activist temperament.

Highlights and Research Potential of the Levertov Papers

The Denise Levertov Papers are arranged in seven series:

  1. Family Correspondence and Papers
  2. Manuscripts of Levertov's own poetry, prose, and translations
  3. Levertov's Personal Papers, including diaries and dream notebooks
  4. General Correspondence and Manuscripts of Others
  5. Professional Papers
  6. Printed Materials
  7. Photographs.

The family papers, which feature substantial correspondences with Levertov's mother, with her former husband Mitchell Goodman, and with her son combine with her personal papers to offer a rich source for biographical study. The manuscripts and notebooks document Levertov's creative process, recording the development of individual poems from earliest drafts to printed texts. Levertov's correspondence with other writers and public figures open numerous avenues into contemporary literary and social history. Especially important are the files of letters from fellow writers William Carlos Williams, Robert Creeley, Robert Duncan, Hayden Carruth, Gael Turnbull, Eve Triem, and Susan Glickman; also important is correspondence with Levertov's longtime publisher at New Directions, James Laughlin.

Bibliography of Denise Levertov

  • Sakelliou-Schultz , Liana. Denise Levertov : An Annotated Primary and Secondary Bibliography . New York : Garland Pub., 1988.
    Green Library Stacks Z8504.342.S25 1988
  • Maxwell, Barry. "A Selected Bibliography." In Denise Levertov. Ed. Albert Gelpi. Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, 1993.
    Green Library Stacks PS3562.E8876 Z63 1993
    Meyer PS3562.E8876 Z63 1993

Selected Biography and Criticism on Denise Levertov

  • Levertov, Denise. Tesserae: Memories and Suppositions. New York, NY : New Directions, 1995.
    Green Library Stacks PS3562.E8876Z777 1995
    Meyer PS3562.E8876Z777 1995
  • Levertov, Denise. Denise Levertov [sound recording]. Kansas City, MO : University of Missouri, [1983].
    Archive Rec Sound Phono C-400
  • Critical Essays on Denise Levertov. Boston, Mass. : G.K. Hall, 1990.
    Green Library Stacks PS3562.E8876 Z6 1990
  • Denise Levertov. Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, c1993.
    Green Library Stacks PS3562.E8876 Z63 1993
    Meyer PS3562.E8876 Z63 1993
  • Kinnahan, Linda A. Poetics of the Feminine. Cambridge [England] : Cambridge University Press, 1994)
    Green Library Stacks PS151.K56 1994
  • Rodgers, Audrey T. Denise Levertov. Rutherford, N.J. : Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, c1993.
    Green Library Stacks PS3562.E8876 Z86 1993
    Meyer PS3562.E8876 Z86 1993
  • Marten, Harry. Understanding Denise Levertov. Columbia, S.C. : University of South Carolina, c1988.
    Green Library Stacks PS3562.E8876Z79 1988
    Meyer PS3562.E8876Z79 1988
  • Middleton, Peter. Revelation And Revolution in the Poetry Of Denise Levertov. London : Binnacle Press, 1981.
    Green Library Stacks PS3562.E8876Z73 f

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Last modified: July 5, 2006

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