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
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
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
Read an Excerpt
A Thief of Strings
By Donald Revell
Alice James Books Copyright © 2007 Donald Revell
All right reserved.
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.
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.
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