Prepared by Dyani Scheuerman, February 19, 2003; Updated November 2012
1 document case, 1 oversize folder, .33 cubic feet, 11th floor
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.
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.
Folder -- Contents
Announcement of levy's death from Cleveland poets. November 24, 1968.
Announcement of poetry reading at Kent State University featuring levy's
work. November 27, 1968.
Berefjord, Per. H. Proof for "d.a." from d.a. levy, a tribute
to the man. [no date]
Blazek, Douglas. Proof for intro to "Rectal Eye Visions," May
Catalog: Titles from Ground Zero, 1974. [Mimeograph sheet with mistakes.]
Flyer: The Hart Crane, Langston Hughes, d.a. levy All-Night Memorial Poetry
Fest. June 9, 1978.
Flyer: "days of rain & fire: d.a. levy 20 years after." Festival
at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH. October 7-9, 1988.
Flyer: If I Scratch, I Write, film about levy [no date]
Fliers: "25 Cents for levy's Defense," Feb. 1967.
Letter to Richard Allen Morris, Apr. 16, 1961.
Letter to Richard Allen Morris, Apr. 1965.
Letter to Richard Allen Morris, May 1, 1966.
Letter from D.R. Wagner to levy, Jun. 20, 1966.
Letter from D.R. Wagner to levy, Jul. 21, 1966.
Letter from D.R. Wagner to levy, Sep. 1, 1966.
Letter (?) from D.R. Wagner, "The Tibetan Notes," Sep. 7, 1966.
Letter from D.R. Wagner to levy, Sep. 7, 1966.
Letter from D.R. Wagner to levy, Oct. 3, 1966.
Letter from D.R. Wagner to levy, Dec. 11, 1966.
Letter to levy from Cleveland Peace Action Council, Oct. 25, 1968.
Letter to Robert Kelly, [no date]
Letter to Richard Allen Morris, [no date]
Letter to Richard Allen Morris, [no date]
Letter to D.R. Wagner, [no date]
Letter to unknown, [no date]
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, [no date]
Manuscript: "world war III," Mar. 23, 1961.
Manuscript: "granny," Oct. 11, 1961.
Manuscript: "Temptation," Nov. 18, 1961.
Manuscript: "cleveland undercovers," 1964-65.
Manuscript: "The North American Book of the Dead, Parts I & II,"
Manuscript: "Concrete" poem, Jul. 14, 1966.
Manuscript: "Beret: a concrete poem for the war monuments of the world,"
Manuscript: "Brotherhood of Bhang," 1966.
Manuscript: "The Egyptian Stroboscope," 1966.
Manuscript: "Litany of the Green Lion," 1966.
Manuscript: "Ohio Turnpike," 1966.
Manuscipt: "Cloud in the Form of a Swastika," 1966-67.
Manuscript: "The Subreal nark dream," Nov., 1967.
Manuscript: "a dream of the dream-trial inquisition," Dec., 1967.
Manuscript: "cleveland uber alles," 1967.
Manuscript: "Kibbutz in the Sky / Book II," 1967.
Manuscript: "One Death in the Life of Julie," 1967.
Manuscript: "Spirit Process, [no date] Photocopy; the original is owned
by Laura Davis-Clapper.
Marrahuannah Newsletter #1.
The Newsletter on the State of the Culture. Includes note about levy's
death. December 16, 1968.
Painting: "The Golden Horn," 1961.
Painting: "Mobile," [no date]
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.
Pamphlet: "Notes on the Suicide of America" by Hassan Sabbah II.
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!"
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. [no date]
Paper: "The Evolution of Comparative Literature" by levy. 1968.
Poems and essays supporting levy by E.R. Baxter III, Bill Bissett, Richard
Morris, etc., 1967.
Proof for The Buddhist Third Class Junkmail Oracle, V. 1 #11.
Woodblocks [used for publication?], [no date]
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.
"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, .
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