d. a. levy papers

Special Collections and Archives

d. a. levy papers

Special Collections and Archives

d. a. levy papers

d. a. levy papers, 1961-2005 (bulk 1961-1968)

Finding Aid

Prepared by Dyani Scheuerman, February 19, 2003; Updated March 2015
2 document cases, 1 oversize folder, .66 cubic feet, 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. The Department of Special Collections and Archives also housed many published works of levy and his circle, all of which are cataloged in KentLINK. 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.

Related Material

The Department of Special Collections and Archives also houses the d.a. levy and family archive, a large collection of levy manuscripts, artwork, and other papers. Additionally, the department houses 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.

Box 1
Folder -- Contents

  1. Announcement of levy's death from Cleveland poets. November 24, 1968.
  2. Announcement of poetry reading at Kent State University featuring levy's work. November 27, 1968.
  3. Berefjord, Per. H. Proof for "d.a." from d.a. levy, a tribute to the man. undated
  4. Blazek, Douglas. Proof for intro to "Rectal Eye Visions," May 29, 1966.
  5. Catalog: Titles from Ground Zero, 1974. [Mimeograph sheet with mistakes.]
  6. Collage, undated
  7. Collage, undated
  8. Collage, undated
  9. Collage, undated
  10. Collage, undated
  11. Collage, undated
  12. Collage, undated
  13. Collage, undated
  14. Collage, undated
  15. Collage [photocopy], undated
  16. Collage: "Boom." [photographic reproduction] undated
  17. Flyer: The Hart Crane, Langston Hughes, d.a. levy All-Night Memorial Poetry Fest. June 9, 1978.
  18. Flyer: "days of rain & fire: d.a. levy 20 years after." Festival at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH. October 7-9, 1988.
  19. Flyer: If I Scratch, I Write, film about levy undated
  20. Fliers: "25 Cents for levy's Defense," Feb. 1967.
  21. Letter to Richard Allen Morris, Apr. 16, 1961.
  22. Letter to Richard Allen Morris, Apr. 1965.
  23. Letter to Richard Allen Morris, May 1, 1966.
  24. Letter from D.R. Wagner to levy, Jun. 20, 1966.
  25. Letter from D.R. Wagner to levy, Jul. 21, 1966.
  26. Letter from D.R. Wagner to levy, Sep. 1, 1966.
  27. Letter (?) from D.R. Wagner, "The Tibetan Notes," Sep. 7, 1966.
  28. Letter from D.R. Wagner to levy, Sep. 7, 1966.
  29. Letter from D.R. Wagner to levy, Oct. 3, 1966.
  30. Letter from D.R. Wagner to levy, Dec. 11, 1966.
  31. Letter to levy from Cleveland Peace Action Council, Oct. 25, 1968.
  32. Letter to Robert Kelly, undated
  33. Letter to Richard Allen Morris, undated
  34. Letter to Richard Allen Morris, undated
  35. Letter to D.R. Wagner, undated
  36. Letter to unknown, undated
  37. Letter beginning "basically an open letter to anyone and everyone who's been asking wat we're doing ... " from Captain Zero and General Gap, ground zero associates, undated
  38. Manuscript: "world war III," Mar. 23, 1961.
  39. Manuscript: "granny," Oct. 11, 1961.
  40. Manuscript: "Temptation," Nov. 18, 1961.

Box 2
Folder -- Contents

  1. Manuscript: "cleveland undercovers," 1964-65.
  2. Manuscript: "The North American Book of the Dead, Parts I & II," 1965.
  3. Manuscript: "Concrete" poem, Jul. 14, 1966.
  4. Manuscript: "Beret: a concrete poem for the war monuments of the world," 1966.
  5. Manuscript: "Brotherhood of Bhang," 1966.
  6. Manuscript: "The Egyptian Stroboscope," 1966.
  7. Manuscript: "Litany of the Green Lion," 1966.
  8. Manuscript: "Ohio Turnpike," 1966.
  9. Manuscipt: "Cloud in the Form of a Swastika," 1966-67.
  10. Manuscript: "The Subreal nark dream," Nov., 1967.
  11. Manuscript: "a dream of the dream-trial inquisition," Dec., 1967.
  12. Manuscript: "cleveland uber alles," 1967.
  13. Manuscript: "Kibbutz in the Sky / Book II," 1967.
  14. Manuscript: "One Death in the Life of Julie," 1967.
  15. Manuscript: "Spirit Process, undated Photocopy; the original is owned by Laura Davis-Clapper.
  16. Marrahuannah Newsletter #1.
  17. Newsclippings.
  18. The Newsletter on the State of the Culture. Includes note about levy's death. December 16, 1968.
  19. Painting: "The Golden Horn," 1961.
  20. Painting: "Mobile," undated
  21. Pamphlet: With newsclipping from The Cleveland Pot, April 1, 1966 pasted on front. Contains information on hallucinogenic drugs, an advertisement for subscriptions to Inner Space, and information about recordings available from Takoma Records.
  22. Pamphlet: "Notes on the Suicide of America" by Hassan Sabbah II. Akron, 1966.
  23. Pamphlet: Regarding the conflict between police and Cleveland poets. Includes list of "obscene" publications, article titled "Grand Jury Named Beatnik Poet in Secret Indictment on Filth" from the Cleveland Press, and a poem by Joe Brainard called "People of the World: Relax!" 1967.
  24. Pamphlet: Regarding rjs's jail sentence. Includes biographical and contact information on rjs, information on marijuana, and a poem entitled "what can i say?" all written or compiled by levy. undated
  25. Paper: "The Evolution of Comparative Literature" by levy. 1968.
  26. Photograph of levy, 1966.
  27. Poem: "Coming Forth By Day," 7 Flowers Press, Cleveland, 1966. [author unknown]
  28. Poem: "what can i say?" by levy from Dare.
  29. Poems and essays supporting levy by E.R. Baxter III, Bill Bissett, Richard Morris, etc., 1967.
  30. Proof for The Buddhist Third Class Junkmail Oracle, V. 1 #11. (filed in oversized folder)
  31. Woodblocks [used for publication?], undated
  32. Typescript fragments and program from "The Steeple" East Cleveland Congregational Church, undated.
  33. levyfest Program: "d. a. levy and Cleveland's 1960s Literary and Cultural Scene (The Mimeograph Revolution)," Program and flyer from Bottom Dog Press, October 29-30, 2005.
  34. "d.a. levy & the Cleveland Mimeograph Revolution. Two Programs: d.a. levy: Cleveland Rebel Poet, Interview with Ed Sanders & Remembering d.a. levy: A Reading from levyfest 2005." DVD. Huron, OH: Bottom Dog Press, [2005].