The Denise Levertov Award

Richard Rodriguez

Receives The 2017 Denise Levertov Award
May 25, 2017

“Books should confuse. Literature abhors the typical. Literature flows to the particular, the mundane, the greasiness of paper, the taste of warm beer, the smell of onion or quince. Auden has a line: ‘Ports have names they call the sea.’ Just so will literature describe life familiarly, regionally, in terms life is accustomed to use—high or low matters not. Literature cannot by this impulse betray the grandeur of its subject—there is only one subject: What it feels like to be alive. Nothing is irrelevant. Nothing is typical.”

—Richard Rodriguez, Brown: The Last Discovery of America

Richard Rodriguez is a journalist, essayist, and author whose books include Days of Obligation: An Argument with My Mexican Father, Brown: The Last Discovery of America, and Darling: A Spiritual Autobiography (all from Viking). He is a contributor to Harper’s Magazine, Mother Jones, the Los Angeles Times, and Time. He lives in San Francisco. Read Rodriguez’s essay “Transit Alexander: A Round,” excerpted from Darling, in Image issue 78.

Join us for the 14th Annual Denise Levertov Award with Richard Rodriguez.

Thursday, May 25, 2017
7:00 p.m.
415 Westlake
Seattle, Washington

In 2004, Image established the Denise Levertov Award to honor one of the twentieth century’s greatest poets.

The Levertov Award is given annually to an artist, musician, or writer whose work exemplifies a serious and sustained engagement with the Judeo-Christian tradition. The occasion is marked by a reading or performance by the award recipient in Seattle, co-sponsored by Seattle Pacific University’s English department and Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program.

DeniseLevertov_NewBioImageDenise Levertov, who spent her last years in Seattle, embraced the landscape and culture of the Pacific Northwest. Particularly in her later poetry, her identity as a Christian believer—a pilgrim whose faith was inextricably entwined with doubt—became another important facet of her work.

Read a personal essay by Murray Bodo about Denise Levertov’s life, work, and faith, originally published in Image issue 27.

Levertov Award Recipients

2016 | Dana Gioia

dana gioia

2015 | Bruce Cockburn


2014 | Scott Cairns


2013 | Luci Shaw

Luci Red Umbrella

2012 | Patricia Hampl


2011 | Sam Phillips


2010 | Ron Hansen


2009 | Eugene Peterson


2008 | Thomas Lynch

Thomas Lynch Closeup Alan Betson

2007 | Bret Lott


2006 | Kathleen Norris

Norris NEW Hi Res (credit Callie Lipkin)

2005 | Franz Wright


2004 | Madeline DeFrees


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