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Prepared by Dyani Scheuerman, February 19, 2003; Updated March 2015; Last Updated: August 2020
Inclusive Dates: 1961-2005
Bulk Dates: 1961-1968
Extent: .66 cubic feet (2 document cases, 1 oversize folder)
Physical Location: 11th floor
Biographical Note: Darryl Allen Levy (d.a. levy) was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on October 29, 1942, to Joseph and Caroline Levy. His parents changed the spelling of their surname from "Levey" to "Levy" in the 1940s; however levy's older brother, James, retained the original spelling. levy graduated from James Ford Rhodes High School in 1960, after which he spent seven months in the U. S. Navy, based in San Diego. levy's Navy experience, as described in numerous letters to family members, was very unpleasant and difficult. After his early release from the service, levy focused his energies on poetry, artwork, and publishing. levy is considered one of the founders of the "mimeograph revolution" of printing and distributing poetry and other publications during the second half of the 20th century. This "do-it-yourself" approach to publication utilized a mimeograph, producing small print runs often utilizing local materials on hand such as discarded paper stock. levy collaborated with a large network of poets and artists including Tom Kryss, rjs (Robert J. Sigmund), Kent Taylor, D.r. Wagner, Russell Salamon, and many others both within and outside of the Cleveland poetry scene. According to Jeff Maser, "levy lead an itinerant life. Though he did not 'travel' in the normal sense, he would often stay with friends and family members for short periods of time, or take month-to-month rentals. Occasional trips were made to the West, to Wisconsin, and to New York, but to Cleveland he always returned." A dramatic series of events occurred in levy's life in 1967 when he was indicted by a grand jury, arrested, and jailed for "possessing and distributing obscene literature." In March of that same year, he was again arrested for "contributing to the delinquency of minors" in relation to a poetry reading he had given, attended by some minors. Friends and fellow poets, including Allen Ginsberg, rallied around levy through a series of events, publications, and fund raising efforts. His sentence for the second offense was eventually suspended and the prior grand jury charges were later dismissed. However, levy was left feeling increasingly isolated, under attack, and betrayed by his native city. levy died on November 24, 1968 at the age of 26. He was found by friends on the floor of his apartment, dead from a gunshot wound to the head, with a .22 caliber rifle by his body. His death was ruled a suicide.
Scope and Content: This collection consists of works by and associated with levy. Manuscripts and drafts of manuscripts, letters, artwork, newsclips, and several miscellaneous items are included. See collections of T. L. Kryss and rjs for further related items.
Related Material: The Department of Special Collections and Archives also houses many published works of levy and his circle, all of which are cataloged in KentLINK. The department also houses the d.a. levy and family archive, a large collection of levy manuscripts, artwork, and other papers, as well as the d. a. levy collection of Carol Jedlinsky that includes a large number of levy poetry manuscripts, as well as prose and play manuscripts by levy.
Restrictions on Use: Copyright of materials in this collection resides with the d.a. levy estate and other applicable copyright holders. Please contact the Department of Special Collections and Archives for copyright inquiries.
Acquisition Information: Most of the material in this collection has been purchased over a number of years, much of it from book dealers James Lowell and Jeff Maser.
Folder -- Contents
Folder -- Contents