In the Ocean of Crisis

photo-3Denise 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.

photo-2Sometimes 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.

kin-vii-scent-of-magnoliaBut 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.

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One Response to In the Ocean of Crisis

  1. Tom D'Evelyn says:

    ‘Underneath and beyond’ — this simplicity of this piece releases depths and luminosities on rereading. The genre– juxtaposition of quote and image — itself bears witness to the patience of the pilgrimage.

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