The Jacob's Ladder Analysis

Decent Essays
In Some Notes on Organic Form, Denise Levertov makes the statement that summarizes and explains her concept of organic form: “Form is never more than a revelation of the content” (Poetry 55). Since the beginning of post-modern poetics, authors have explored the nature of our language and how it can be used in new and different ways as a work of art. Levertov’s organic form was her way of using language (that has been here for hundreds of years) in new, creative ways. She mixed words, phrases and images in new and different ways, allowing the poem to emerge from the experience. In her later years, Levertov called herself a Christian poet, but in her earlier years of writing she did not give herself that title. However, the fact cannot be denied…show more content…
She said “…intellect and conscious stance are not the mainspring of art, which draws upon a wider range of intelligence…” (Levertov). However, it should be noted that she used the word “mainspring,” leaving open the idea that “intellect could well be the foundation” from which the mainspring is launched and that intellect reaches back to her early biblical training. An example of her reference to the Bible can be seen in her poem “The Jacob’s Ladder.” The title correlates to the story in the Bible often called “Jacob’s Ladder.” It is the story of Jacob who has a dream of a ladder extended from Earth to Heaven and on which angels are ascending and descending. While Levertov denies that this poem is about the Bible story, it is best experienced when approached with the knowledge of the original story. So, by using that title, Levertov is invoking a range of visual and spiritual connotations. The title of the poem “Matins” works much in the same way. Matins refers to the morning prayers – those prayers offered at a time that is ritualistic for many religions. By using that word, Levertov has produced a certain set of…show more content…
In her essays, Levertov often declares that some poems are “inspired.” She says, “When a poet is truly gifted, when his sense of language is original and he is indeed inspired, that is, when the breath of his content blows through him like the wind in a tree, then poetry overcomes, overrules the limitations he has imposed on it” (“Wear Shoes That Fit” 81-89). The word “inspiration” suggests that the creativity comes to a poet and Levertov implies that it originates from some combination of inward creativity and transcendent compound. When approaching Levertov’s poetry, the old saying from Native American culture comes to mind: “I can’t hear what you are saying for the thunder of your actions.” As can be seen in examination of her essays and books, she denies that there is anything religious about her work before she became a Christian 15 years before her death. Yet, her “actions,” that is the words and images she chose to use in poetry from the very early stages of her writing career, seem to prove otherwise. And no matter how readers approach her work, we, the audience, are
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