cover image A Thief of Strings

A Thief of Strings

Donald Revell, . . Alice James, $14.95 (68pp) ISBN 978-1-882295-61-6

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.)