cover image PENNYWEIGHT WINDOWS: New and Selected Poems

PENNYWEIGHT WINDOWS: New and Selected Poems

Donald Revell, . . Alice James, $26.95 (224pp) ISBN 978-1-882295-52-4

PW said last year that Revell was due for a career retrospective, and this ample and almost shockingly varied cull of poems from eight books rewards that call richly. New readers can watch a brilliant writer retain his talent but change his style, and his prevailing temperament, almost beyond recognition. Revell began as a disenchanted urbanite, reflecting his Bronx upbringing and his academic training in the convoluted sentences and increasing dejection of his first three volumes, culminating with 1990's appropriately titled New Dark Ages . With Beautiful Shirt (1994) Revell began to abandon his bleak pentameter musings for even more cryptic, but more optimistic, short lines, informed and infused by Christian mysticism: "A leaf is the shape of God/ torn apart." The poet's relocations to Utah and Nevada, and the life he made there with his wife (the poet Claudia Keelan) and their son, make his most recent verse also his happiest and his most accessible, with links to his avant-garde peers but also to the luminous directness of James Wright. Fans of Revell's My Mojave (2003) will also enjoy the confident and generous new poems at this volume's close, in which "We are not make-believe, and God is one of us." (Apr.)