Cover image for My Mojave : poems
My Mojave : poems
Revell, Donald, 1954-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Farmington, Me. : Alice James Books, [2003]

Physical Description:
viii, 67 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3568.E793 M9 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Donald Revell's eighth collection, My Mojave , concerns itself with beauty, with the way in which the divine pours through the eye and into the soul. The poems seek their gods in that place where the natural and human worlds come together, where "miserable cardinals comfort/The broken seesaws/And me who wants no comfort/Only to believe." With tightly crafted, sensual lines, the poems are keenly aware of the deserts we inhabit, all the while marveling at the effortlessness of poetry and worship in a world so magnificently capable of proliferating itself and its beauty.

Short Fantasia
The plane descending from an empty sky
Onto numberless real stars
Makes a change in heaven, a new
Pattern for the ply of spirits on bodies.
We are here. Sounds press our bones down.
Someone standing recognizes someone else.
We have no insides. All the books
Are written on the steel beams of bridges.
Seeing the stars at my feet, I tie my shoes
With a brown leaf. I stand, and I read again
The story of Aeneas escaping the fires
And his wife's ghost. We shall meet again
At a tree outside the city. We shall make
New sounds and leave our throats in that place.

Praise for Donald Revell's There Are Three :

"The touch throughout is extraordinarily refined, the -language trimmed and delicate beyond praise. It's almost as terrible and pure as Bach's music for solo violin, so to speak, deep into the strings. . . ."--Calvin Bedient, The Denver Quarterly

" There Are Three is a grave and compelling book, the kind which demands rereading."-- Poetry

Author Notes

Poet, translator and critic Donald Revell has authored ten previous collections of poetry. Winner of a 2008 NEA Translation Award, the 2004 Lenore Marshall Award and two-time winner of the PEN Center USA Award in Poetry, Revell has also received fellowships from the NEA and the Ingram Merrill and Guggenheim Foundations. He is Poetry Editor of the Colorado Review.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Revell gained prominence with the demanding, austere and short-lined poems of There Are Three and the stringent elegies of last year's Arcady, both with Wesleyan. This eighth book's range now encompasses both open-ended sequences and songlike, stanzaic lyric, Christianity and ancient Greece, political anger and paternal affection. Revell views domestic life (as a father and husband), the local flora of the American West, literary forebears (Traherne, Dorothy Wordsworth) and recent history (elections and September 11) through the dual lenses of landscape poetry and religious reverence. "I'm not needed/ Like wings in a storm,/ And God is the storm," one powerful lyric concludes; a provocative ode asks whether "the whole business of appearance would destroy politics/ Giving absolute sovereignty to the love of God." Revell's deliberate drift and concise description distance his new work somewhat from the more difficult poets with whom he has lately been classed: this book instead recalls, and rivals, Gary Snyder's Buddhist humility and Charles Wright's luminous verse diaries. If at times his transcendence seems too easily won, more often Revell's plain declaratives coax readers to share his speaker's journeys: "I want to go to the invisible and see it." (Apr.) Forecast: Revell's shift to the University of Maine-based Alice James may mean a drop in visibility on the shelf-or, depending on review coverage, simply more attention for the press. While there has been an extreme paucity of poetry reviewing in national newspapers and magazines recently, Revell is one the ripest candidates around for a long, summative piece. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

As Revel (Arcady) continues his quest for understanding and appreciation in this eighth collection, he is thrown a greater curve than he might have anticipated. While his poems are pastoral in tone, finding comfort in birdsong and the regular passings of mustangs (Bronx-born, he lives now in Utah), his poetry is drawn-pulled-into a busier, even hectic world. The peace of nature is disturbed by a distant conflagration, by the rattling postures of stalled war. In the face of this chaos, Revell searches relentlessly for God, who seems to be everywhere but can be hard to find; he "wants no comfort/ Only to believe." In tight, focused lines, Revell creates a delicate, exacting music, chimes and silences that hold you in their rhythm and explore the sad deserts we all live in. "Given Days" is a powerful sequence that chronicles fall 2001, from that terrible day in September ("The news was far, then close./ Something had towered above the sky,/ And now the sky was alone") through the passing of a couple of poets and a Beatle, ("I remember impossibly elusive/ The prettiest girl in our class/ Loved him so") and the books and poems we read to get us through: "These sentiments grow hair, and wings too./ Just look at the drains, look at the clouds./ John Lennon's death turns 21 today, and one hour/ From now, in the theatre over there, the curtain/ Rises on the blind kids' matinee: The Nutcracker." Recommended for contemporary poetry collections.-Louis McKee, Painted Bride Arts Ctr., Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.