THE FREEING OF THE DUST by Denise Levertov

THE FREEING OF THE DUST

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Denise Levertov visited North Vietnam in 1972, and several of these free-form poems were written there, recording her horror and indignation and concretizing her anti-war activist perceptions of human waste, mutilated flesh, devastated cityscape. She's angry, murderously enraged at Kissinger, Nixon and their henchmen (pulling no punches: ""O to kill the killers!""), distressed at the bland, milky ignorance of the POWs; she has no forgiveness for the ""smart,"" technologically advanced bomb-and-strafers, ""homo faber of laser beams."" Her other, offerings--in praise of ""love, lovers, husband, child, land and ocean, struggle and solitude""--are weak by contrast with the whirlwind force of her agitated conscience. But since she is a most serious, thoroughgoing, fight-thinking humanist, she also regards the calling of poet as a sacred trust and duty. Notable among her writing on writing are ""Growth of a Poet,"" ""The Poem Rising by Its Own Weight,"" and ""Conversation in Moscow,"" a poem which captures the rhythms of a dinner-party discussion about the ""mystery"" of poetry, that old czarist reactionary Dostoevsky, the nature of religion, and what it means to Serve the People. A Soviet historian who was listening to Levertov, then remarks tenderly: ""How young! How pure!"" Yes, that's what she is.

Pub Date: Oct. 23rd, 1975
ISBN: 0811205827
Publisher: New Directions