cover image Tantivy


Donald Revell. Alice James (Consortium, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (80p) ISBN 978-1-882295-97-5

Revell is one of American poetry’s quiet masters, an aesthetically daring poet who, late in his career, took up religious themes and has created a kind of edgy wisdom poetry. There is a calm at the heart of these restless lyrics: “For a long time now,” writes Revell in “The Last Poem,” “I’ve tried to imagine/ A steady diet of chrysalis—soup or stew/ No matter, I only mean to eat the changes.” Readers of these poems will often wonder where they are while simultaneously feeling centered. Few poets can write this compellingly about God, who “counts only up to one/ His hands are small/ And in God’s hands even/ Mountains are sparrow-sized.” Revell courts a universal vision and gets closer than most to a panoramic view: “There is a sleep no man has ever known/ There is an ocean of white laundry in Venice/ A jonquil in India....” The best of these poems are transcendent. (Sept.)