A Thief of Strings

Overview

What is a nation when it ignores history? What is a man when he forgets his life? This acclaimed poet’s tenth collection chronicles our seeming, and apocalyptic, liberation from conscience—and even consciousness itself. These masterful poems, written in Donald Revell’s increasingly more enraptured and oracular style, delineate the consequences of such disregard in a manner both spiritually generous and urgent.

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Overview

What is a nation when it ignores history? What is a man when he forgets his life? This acclaimed poet’s tenth collection chronicles our seeming, and apocalyptic, liberation from conscience—and even consciousness itself. These masterful poems, written in Donald Revell’s increasingly more enraptured and oracular style, delineate the consequences of such disregard in a manner both spiritually generous and urgent.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“These poems make you want to read them over and over, you want so much to understand their magic, their vastness. We suddenly have a master. God bless his courage, his knowledge, his playfulness, his stubbornness, his loving attention. God pity his grief.”—Gerald Stern

"Revell is a post-Romantic, his natural imagery clear and immediate, his feelings never very far from his sleeve, his tone approaching a prayerful devotion. . ."—Library Journal

Publishers Weekly

How can we see, as Thoreau did, a radiant nature within a nation at war? What can a 21st-century poetry say about the primeval wisdom in a canyon, a hummingbird, a brook? And how can a poet be at once a true Christian and a re-creator of the modern word? Such questions guide the rightly confident, brilliantly convincing Revell throughout this 10th book, his first since the new-and-selected Pennyweight Windows(2005). Many poets have tried to express such faith, such anger, such awe, but few do so with such original brevity and joy. "Poplars" zips from "abandoned cars... in the dusty air" to the Beijing Olympics to a ringing credo: "God is the sun truly, you know, and He moves fast"; "All together it is one God, who never made a desert,/ And whose circus we are, all clowns swimming." The 13-part title poem concludes a book-long exploration of belief and skepticism, self-doubt and familial love that also takes in the landscapes of New England and the mountain West; the poetry and prose of Keats, Goethe and Rimbaud (whom Revell has translated); and the consolation of classic films. No poet so innovative now is more accessible, and no poet half so accessible in recent years has made the language so new. (Apr.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

With its acute, almost painful consciousness of the divide between the shared, public world we inhabit and the personal, ideal realm we would wish for ("Good world, you are the rumor I believe/ When no one's there but me"), Revell's latest (after Pennyweight Windows: New and Selected Poems) might be read as an extended meditation on Wordsworth's sonnet "The World Is Too Much with Us." The poet's contemplative life, submerged in the modest joys of reading, nature, and family, is nevertheless besieged by pessimism, by the violence and divisiveness of the political sphere ("The sun is real. Where it rises/ New wars prepare new trances/ And bad bargains"). "Do we keep reading" bedtime stories to our children in the face of mass death and the abuse of nature ("A cut tree weeps a stream of ants from its wounds")? Which has the greater moral claim on our attentions? Revell is a post-Romantic, his natural imagery clear and immediate, his feelings never very far from his sleeve, his tone approaching a prayerful devotion that evinces an unshakable love of the real world despite its—or our—compromised state: "It's all a luxury, this being alive." Recommended for larger poetry collections.
—Fred Muratori, Cornell Univ. Lib., NY

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781882295616
  • Publisher: Alice James Books
  • Publication date: 4/1/2007
  • Pages: 80
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Poet, translator, and critic Donald Revell is the author of ten previous collections of poetry, most recently Pennyweight Windows: New and Selected Poems. Winner of a 2008 NEA Translation Award, the 2004 Lenore Marshall Award and two-time winner of the PEN Center USA Award in Poetry, Revell has also received fellowships from the NEA and the Ingram Merrill and Guggenheim Foundations. He is currently a professor of English at the University of Utah and poetry editor of the Colorado Review.

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Read an Excerpt

A Thief of Strings


By Donald Revell

Alice James Books

Copyright © 2007 Donald Revell
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9781882295616

From "Election Year”:

. . . You asked for my autobiography.
Imagine the greeny clicking sound
Of hummingbirds in a dry wood,
And there you’d have it. Other birds
Pour over the walls now.
I’d never suspected: every day,
Although the nation is done for,
I find new flowers.




Continues...

Excerpted from A Thief of Strings by Donald Revell Copyright © 2007 by Donald Revell. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents


I
Landscape: A Delirium     3
Landscape with Warhol and the Coming of Spring 2003     5
Delirium: A Landscape     6
Landscape Near Biloxi, Mississippi     8
The Plow That Broke the Plains     9
Thinking in the World     10
Storks     11
Bartram's Travels     13
Burned Acreage     14
Jules and Jim     15
O Rare     16
A Prism That Is     20
II
Just in the Morning     23
Good Friday     24
On My Fiftieth Birthday     25
Poplars     26
Icarus     27
Hallowe'en, Blue Diamond, Nevada     28
Election Year     29
San Clemente     30
Moab     31
Carcassonne     32
"There might be beauty"     33
Sibylline     34
After Williams     35
What if Christ Were a Snowflake Falling into the Sea?     36
III
To the Christians     39
To the Jews     40
To the Muslims     41
To the World     42
The Last Guitar     43
Magi     47
The Birth of Venus     48
The Wisdoms     49
Stoic     50
Solstice     51
Thief of Strings     52
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