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In celebration of National Poetry Month, every day we're posting a new poem from the spoken-word album Poetic License, a three-CD set that features one hundred performers of stage and screen reading one hundred poems selected by the actors themselves. From Shakespeare and Dickinson to Lucille Clifton and Allen Ginsberg, the lineup spans contemporary American poetry and classics of the Western canon.
Denise Levertov (1923–1997), who was educated by her mother at home in her native England, was a poet of sociopolitical consciousness and linguistic precision. Her works include the poetry collections The Double Image (Cresset Press, 1946), With Eyes at the Back of Our Heads (1959), O Taste and See (1964), and This Great Unknowing: Last Poems (1999), as well as the essay collections The Poet in the World (1973) and Light Up the Cave (1981), all published by New Directions, whose founder, the late James Laughlin, called Levertov "the best of the organic form poets."
Peter Friedman has appeared in film, television, and on Broadway, most recently in Twelve Angry Men. He has also played in Ragtime, The Tenth Man, and Wendy Wasserstein's Pulitzer Prize–winning play The Heidi Chronicles.
"Psalm Concerning the Castle" by Denise Levertov, from Poetic License produced by Glen Roven. Copyright © 2010 by GPR Records. Used with permission of GPR Records.