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Denise Levertov

Poet

Born: 24 October 1923
Died: 20 December 1997 (complications from lymphoma)
Birthplace: Ilford, Essex, England
Best known as: The politically-active poet who wrote With Eyes at the Back of our Heads
Known for poetry of political and social consciousness, Denise Levertov published her first book of poems, The Double Image, in England in 1946. Though still young, she had worked as a nurse in London during World War II. She married American writer Mitchell Goodman in 1947 and moved to America in 1948 (she became a U.S. citizen in 1955). In the 1960s she was poetry editor for the liberal magazine The Nation, and in the 1970s she was poetry editor for the still-more-liberal magazine Mother Jones. She also taught in Stanford University's creative writing program from 1982-93. Despite her British birth, she is widely regarded as an "American" poet and her positions as teacher and editor helped her influence a generation of American poets. Her published works include With Eyes at the Back of our Heads (1959), Jacob's Ladder (1962) and Relearning the Alphabet (1970).

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