Denise Levertov wrote about the work of the poet: “The tragic and fearful character of our times is not something from which we can detach ourselves; we are in it, as fish are in the sea, whether we speak about it in our poems or not.
Sometimes the nagging, unceasing ache of a keen awareness of current history and of its impact on one’s daily life deflects one’s energies way from creative work; at other times it may stimulate them, and some of the results may be of lasting value.
But more and more, what I have sought as a reading writer, is a poetry that, while it does not attempt to ignore or deny the ocean of crisis in which we swim, is itself “on pilgrimage,’ as it were, in search of significance underneath and beyond the succession of temporal events…”
Text from Denise Levertov’s essay, “Some Affinities of Content,” 1991.
Images by Whitfield Lovell, “The Kin Series & Related Works,” on view at the Phillips Collection, Washington, DC.