Poetry moves in circles around its subjects and defies most sorts of classification and explication. It is magical and playful and difficult, but not so difficult that it isn't also easy in its way. In its flow and sound. In the way it is at once evocative and authentic concerning the shared mystery of human history and being. Donald Revell epitomizes this rendering of poetry's difficulty and grace. A decorated poet, translator, and critic, he often writes in a dreamlike voice about war and God, children, landscape, and mythologies. He is philosophical-'Happiness and despair are one mind / Of perfect emptiness under unbearable pressures-but firmly set in the world: God is flat on the ground. I lie beside him. / Together we can hear the tender, / Unvarying trill of sunlight in the dirt.Helplessness / Opens a gate in the dear earth, / Into Eden, Eden everywhere. / Each color is ten thousand hues of itself.' We admit it's hard to make sense of these poems, but that's far from a criticism. Lines stand out with startling clarity and tenderness in the midst of grief, death, and forgetting. 'I was reading when my father died / Who could not read. / My wife was asleep, / And the baby slept beside her. / I went outside to see a house nearby, / A small house covered with green vines / Filled with bees.' These poems call us back. They beg to be read over and then read over again. Not so that we can make sense of them, but that we might participate in their magic and their expanse.
An Eighth Day View:
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.