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Denise Levertov

  • ... the artist must / create himself or be born again.

    • Denise Levertov,
    • "In Memory of Boris Pasternak," The Jacob's Ladder ()
  • ... that's joy, it's always / a recognition, the known / appearing fully itself, and / more itself than one knew.

    • Denise Levertov,
    • "Matins," The Jacob's Ladder ()
  • Marvelous Truth, confront us / at every turn, / in every guise ...

    • Denise Levertov,
    • "Matins," The Jacob's Ladder ()
  • ... breathe the sweetness that hovers in August ...

    • Denise Levertov,
    • "Luxury," in Quarterly Review of Literature ()
  • two by two in the ark of / the ache of it.

    • Denise Levertov,
    • "The Ache of Marriage," O Taste and See ()
  • Life after life after life goes by / without poetry, / without seemliness, / without love.

    • Denise Levertov,
    • "The Mutes," The Sorrow Dance ()
  • To speak of sorrow / works upon it / moves it from its / crouched place barring / the way to and from the soul's hall ...

    • Denise Levertov,
    • "To Speak," The Sorrow Dance ()
  • One of the obligations of the writer, and perhaps especially of the poet, is to say or sing all that he or she can, to deal with as much of the world as becomes possible to him or her in language.

    • Denise Levertov,
    • "Statement for a Television Program," The Poet in the World ()
  • Mediocrity is perhaps due not so much to lack of imagination as to lack of faith in the imagination, lack of the capacity for this abandon.

    • Denise Levertov,
    • "To Write Is to Listen," The Poet in the World ()
  • We must breathe time as fishes breathe water.

    • Denise Levertov,
    • "Variation and Reflection on a Theme by Rilke," Breathing the Water ()
  • We call it 'Nature'; only reluctantly / admitting ourselves to be 'Nature' too.

    • Denise Levertov,
    • "Sojourns in the Parallel World," Sands of the Well ()
  • Affliction is more apt to suffocate the imagination than to stimulate it.

    • Denise Levertov,
    • "Paradox and Equilibrium," New and Selected Essays ()

Denise Levertov, English-born U.S. poet, writer

(1923 - 1997)