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This Great Unknowing: Last Poems

4.38  ·  Rating Details  ·  118 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
When Denise Levertov died in 1997, she left behind 40 finished poems that shine with the artistry of a writer at the height of her powers, now collected here in "This Great Unknowing".
Hardcover, 68 pages
Published April 1st 1999 by New Directions Publishing Corporation (first published 1999)
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(showing 1-30 of 241)
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Abbi Dion
Aug 24, 2012 Abbi Dion rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I could read this book a thousand times. Beautiful.
It looked at me, I looked
back, delight
filled me as if
I, not the flower,
were a flower and were brimful of rain.
And there was endlessness.
Perhaps through a lifetime what I've desired
has always been to return
to that endless giving and receiving, the wholeness
of that attention,
that one-in-a-lifetime
secret communion.

Denise Levertov, from "First Love"
Apr 12, 2015 Leslie rated it liked it
Recommended to Leslie by: AAB Spring 2015 Poet
Shelves: poetry
Perhaps 3 stars. I really liked a few poems in this posthumous collection and didn't dislike any of them. However, most of the poems didn't make any strong emotional connection with me. I'm curious now to see how some of her earlier work strikes me. ...more
Dec 10, 2015 Andrea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, woman-writer, 2015
I bought this book because it has one of my favorite poems that I use for teaching the shape and internal logic of poetry, "A Clearing," which is also just a fantastic poem that my students resonate with:

What lies at the end of enticing
country driveways, curving
off among trees? Often only
a car graveyard, a house-trailer,
a trashy bungalow. But this one,
for once, brings you
through the shade of its green tunnel
to a paradise of cedars,
of lawns mown but not too closely,
of iris, moss, fern, rivers of
Dec 29, 2013 Dianne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, spiritual
Read it. "A Clearing" on p. 54 captures the spirit of where I live. "Once Only" on p. 46 is a hard lesson for me about the 'once only' things in our lives.
Oct 25, 2007 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The most essential book of poetry I own.
Carol Peters
Mar 01, 2015 Carol Peters rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a volume composed by editors after her death, poems of mixed quality, the best are great
Larry Smith
Sep 20, 2012 Larry Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Larry Smith This book coming in the last years of Denise Levertov's life is a real treasure. Her work and life are one here in poems of deep yet clear meaning and texture. No one I can think of writes such smooth vivid lines in a flowing yet reflective style. I guess I would call these deeply reflective poems that do not speak more than what is there and how it is help in some quiet significance by the poet. Poem after poem rings true in the stillness of meditation...He last poem "Awake" his her ...more
Jul 23, 2014 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Absolute attention. Clearing away. Clearing the way. Constant. Pure presence. Vigilance.
Helen Wilson
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Denise Levertov was born in Ilford, Essex, England. Her mother, Beatrice Spooner-Jones Levertoff, was Welsh. Her father, Paul Levertoff, immigrated to England from Germany, was a Russian Hassidic Jew who, after converting to Christianity, became an Anglican parson. At the age of 12, she sent some of her poems to T. S. Eliot, who replied with a two-page letter of encouragement. In 1940, when she wa ...more
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