"The Letters of Denise Levertov and William Carlos Williams" is the most engaging and lively of their literary correspondences--at once a portrait of two geniuses, the testimony of their remarkable friendship, and a seedbed of ideas about American poetry. With a 1951 fan letter, the young British poet introduced herself to Williams, declaring: "If a man is a force in one's life [and] is felt to enter the fabric of one's thinking & feelings & one's way of trying to work, he certainly ought to know it. So, thank you." The correspondence begins in Levertov's twenties as her first books appear in the US. By 1959, Williams in congratulating Levertov on her growth: "this book challenge[s] me so that I am glad I am not younger....You have not always written so excellently....I am going to read these first half-dozen poems--maybe more--until as an old man I have penetrated to where your secret is his." The letters also chronicle their search (individually and together) for a set of formal poetic principles, a search which culminated for Levertov in 1965, when she coined the term "organic form." The warmth, the directness,, the flavorsome individuality of the letters--thirty-three from Levertov and thirty-one from Williams--increased with their growing intimacy and mutual regard. Always intriguing, their independent-minded letters, which end with the elder poet's death in 1962, have great piquancy and charm. Denise Levertov herself initiated this project, and was then, in the year before her death, "fascinated to read the exchange." Professor Christopher MacGowan, who edited the definitive "Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams," contributes a superb introduction and intriguing annotations throughout. As James Laughlin, founder of New Directions, said: "For me Denise Levertov is the best of the organic form poets. She has that so important ability that Williams had: she knows where to end the line....Almost immediately she figured out from Williams how to write good free verse."