This paper examines a unique personal archive of ‘brief and essential texts’ created by UK born US poet Denise Levertov, with a focus on her particular creative relationship with the letters of poet Rainer Maria Rilke. Using the metaphor of ‘Hive Poetics’ (Hollingsworth) and considering the archive as an artefact of ‘distributed mind’, the analysis draws upon contemporary theories of distributed and ecological cognition (Clark; Hutchins; Menary; Sutton) to demonstrate both how poets engage with archives as part of poetic practice and how as researchers we might approach the archive in ways that extend beyond the teleological. That is, how we might consider archival materials as artefacts of creative cognition and practice rather than of value simply for the supporting role they play in the analysis of a finished text.


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