Saturday, October 23, 2021

Disability as metaphor in Denise Levertov

This morning, in my reading of Denise Levertov's collected poems, I finished "The Freeing of the Dust" (1975) with its final poem, "The Wealth of the Destitute". The poem's observation of "[h]ow confidently the crippled from birth / push themselves through the streets, deep in their lives" would have struck me less if I hadn't already noticed earlier poems in which Levertov makes disabilities into metaphors. Even as she empathizes with "the destitute", she also risks romanticizing their experience of the world as superior to hers. – When I looked for the poem to link to it, I joyfully heard my former teacher's voice in the recording on the Poetry Foundation website. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 23 October 2021)

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