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Denise Levertov-Alan Helms Correspondence Collection

Identifier: 03-01-exws_levertov

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of handwritten correspondence on post cards or stationery between Levertov and Helms dated between the 1974 and 1997. It also contains a 1985 legal document signed by Levertov which lists Helms as a co-trustee of the Denise Levertov Trust.


  • Creation: 1974-1997
  • Other: Date acquired: 1995


Denise Levertov Biography

Denise Levertov (1923-1997) was born in Ilford, Essex, England, but later became a naturalized citizen of the United States. She published her first poem at age 17 and went on to publish over 20 volumes of poetry in the course of her career, as well as five prose works. She was also a contributer to several anthologies. After moving to the United States, she became influenced by the Transcendentalism of Emerson and Thoreau, as well as the experiemtnal styles of Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams. And, through her husband's friendship with Robert Creeley, became associated with the Black Mountain group of poets in the 1950s.

Alan Helms Biography

Alan Helms (1937-) was born in Indianapolis, Indiana and moved to Manhattan in the1950s where he was involved in the artistic scene for more than a decade, becoming friends with prominent figures such as the composer Leonard Bernstein and the playwright Noel Coward. In his 1995 memoir Young Man from the Provinces: A Gay Life before Stonewall, he recounts his time in New York during this vibrant period of social upheaval, particularly his experiences as a young gay man. He earned his BA from Columbia University in 1959 and his PhD from Rutgers in 1971. He began his academic career at University of Massachusetts, Boston in 1971 and is now a professor of English emeritus of the University of Massachusetts.


1 boxes : The collection consists of one archival box (0.5 linear feet).

Language of Materials



Handwritten correspondence between the twentieth century American poet Denise Levertov (1923 - 1997) and writer / English professor Alan Helms (1937-). Also includes legal document listing Helms as co-trustee of the Denise Levertov Trust.

Physical Access Requirements

WMU Special Collections. Non-circulating. Contact department for access.

Source of Acquisition

Harrison Hayford.

Method of Acquisition


Denise Levertov-Alan Helms Correspondence Collection Finding Aid
Avery Cook
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Western Michigan University Special Collections Repository

Western Michigan University Libraries, Special Collections
Zhang Legacy Collections Center
1650 Oakland Drive
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5307 US
(269) 387-8490