The Denise Levertov Award

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

DeniseLevertov_NewBioImageLevertov, 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.

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.

Levertov Award Recipients

2016 | Dana Gioia

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Dana Gioia is an internationally acclaimed and award-winning poet. Former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, Gioia is a native Californian of Italian and Mexican descent. He received a B.A. and a M.B.A. from Stanford University and an M.A. in Comparative Literature from Harvard University. Gioia currently serves as the Poet Laureate of California. (Gioia is pronounced JOY-uh.)

Gioia has published four full-length collections of poetry, as well as eight chapbooks. His poetry collection, Interrogations at Noon, won the 2002 American Book Award. An influential critic as well, Gioia’s 1991 volume Can Poetry Matter?, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award, is credited with helping to revive the role of poetry in American public culture.

In recent years, Gioia has launched a nationwide conversation about the state of the Catholic literary tradition, publishing a substantial essay on the topic in First Things and organizing a conference with the Institute of Advanced Catholic Studies at USC. A former member of the Image Editorial Advisory Board, Gioia has contributed to the journal numerous times over the years.

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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