Department of Special Collections
Washington University Libraries
Washington University in St. Louis

Finding-Aid for the Denise Levertov Papers (WTU0070)

Finding aid prepared by:
Special Collections Staff

Summary Information
Title: Denise Levertov. Papers,
Creator: Levertov, Denise, 1923-1997
Inclusive dates: 1962-1967.
Extent: 42 items
Call number: WTU00070
Language: English
Repository: Washington University in St. Louis
St. Louis, MO 63130

Access and Use:
Source of Collection:

Access Restrictions:


Use Restriction:


Users of the collections must read and abide by the Rules for the use of manuscript collection materials.

Users of the collections who wish to use items from this collection, in whole or in part, in any form of publication (as defined in the form) must sign and submit to the Washington University Department of Special Collections a hard copy of the Notification of intent publish manuscript collection materials form.

All publication not covered by fair use restricted to those who have permission of the copyright holder.


Denise Levertov was an English-born poet who came to the United States in 1948 and became a naturalized citizen in 1956. She was the daughter of a Welsh mother and a Russian-Jewish father, both of whom claim mystics in their family lines. Levertov’s poetry reflects her cultural and spiritual roots as well as her involvement in contemporary political movements. After her move to the United States, Levertov was introduced to the work of William Carlos Williams and became associated with the Black Mountain group of poets, particularly Robert Creeley, Charles Olson, and Robert Duncan. Levertov acknowledged these influences, but disclaimed any membership in a poetic school. Denise Levertov was politically active from the 1960’s onwards, initially in the Vietnam War protests and later in the anti-nuclear movement. She was also active as a feminist. Levertov maintained the need for artists to be politically active and much of her poetry of the 1960’s and 1970’s reflected her political commitments. In addition to writing poetry Levertov wrote much about the creative process and the aesthetics of contemporary poetry. She taught at numerous universities, primarily as a visiting artist. Levertov produced more than 20 books of poetry, criticism, and translations, and edited several important anthologies.

Collection Scope and Content Note

Scope and Contents Note

Washington University’s Denise Levertov Collection contains her letters to Charles Wrey Gardner, an early mentor, and her letters of critical support and encouragement to Richard Deutsch, a young poet. the collection also includes correspondence with Walter Hamady of Parishable Press, as well as material relating to his broadside publication of her poem, "Psalm Concerning the Castle."


Wilson, Robert A. A Bibliography of Denise Levertov . (New York: Phoenix Book Shop, 1972).

First Printing of American Authors , Vol. 3. (Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1977-1979).

Subject Terms

  • Levertov, Denise, 1923-1997