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on September 13, 2014
The Letters of Robert Duncan and Denise Levertov involve a long and complex friendship involving their evolving sense of poetics, the blossoming of their careers, shared situations in their lives, and ultimately a split when Robert made tactless comments about her pro-peace poems. They were two volatile and extremely commmitted poets who eventually were gradually growing apart anyways--Robert going more and more deeply into his H. D. Book and finding enormous critical success with Roots and Branches and Bending the Bow, Denise giving herself to the pro-peace movement so thoroughly that the editors of her Collected Poems suggested that some grad student could earn special acclaim by tracking down all the times she was arrested and how many nights she spent in jail. Both of them are major American poets from the later part of the last century, and this volume of letters is a great read, a superb way of entering the shared creative process of two giants. It's a big, long book and took me a long time to read and fully digest, but it was worth every second.
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