Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Donald Revell's A Thief of Strings

Donald Revell was born in 1954 and has ten collections of poetry thus far and has won many prizes for his poems such as the PEN Center USA Award and the Gertrude Stein Award. I picked up his most recent collection A Thief of Strings, published by Alice James Books in 2007, at the local library. I have links at the end for you all to learn more about Mr. Revell, it is a shame that the poems I want to share with you aren’t also available on these sites but at least there are plenty of poems to read through and enjoy.

One of the first poems I enjoyed in this collection is “Storks.” Obviously this poem is centered around storks but it also has the recurring theme of healing the sick or the broken-hearted. “Reading,/I find myself/Praying for animals/One hundred years gone/” leads me to reminisce about the characters of my own beloved books who I wish were living or were still alive. “Choirs of children/Gather to sing to heal/The white storks ailing in the steeples,” is a stanza I just love. Can’t you picture a large church and choir singing to storks, or any other bird, as they roost in the steeple? “The children’s song is human/But unconcerned with the affairs of men.” Throughout the poem there is also the mention of advocacy and charming and finally at the end you learn more about the real theme of the poem when Mr. Revell reveals “I was reading when my father died/Who could not read,” and goes on to say “I prayed and listened./I prayed and hear/Nothing concerned with men, including my father./He wanted nothing to do with them either./” The very last two lines are the most beautiful: “Once he said/My eyes and my sister’s eyes were brown like those of deer.” While the title is “Storks” it could just as easily be titled “Souls” since this seems to be what he is essentially referring to and the poem is just beautiful if you get a chance to read it yourself. I cannot do it justice.

Another poem I enjoyed was “Just in the Morning, In Memory of Robert Creeley, 1926-2005.” This is another beautiful poem for which I cannot do justice but I shall share some lovely lines with you: “There are no clouds./Pink or purple, in a terrible wind…But the ground dark somehow, as though clouds were passing./Absent or present, death slips beneath.” Then Mr. Revell reminisces about Creeley’s afterlife with the lines “Who’s to say there is no one/Already building a fire in the cabin…On the mountaintop beside one tree?/The wind seems not to reach that high./Smoke from the chimney goes straight up.” I think this is a wonderfully tender way to picture Creeley’s home in the afterlife, a soul content in a cabin whose sign of life is the smoke rising from the top.

There are many poems I enjoy and I believe you will not be disappointed if you happen to pick up his collection. As mentioned earlier, I have links you can click below to learn more about Donald Revell and read his poems.


Thanks always for reading, please click in tomorrow for more Poems Found by Poet Hound…


Walks on Fire said...

donald revell jumps on the lecture table saying "what lovely ears you have..." and he is brilliant.

his poetry informs my daily repertoire.

Poet Hound said...

Thanks for the mental picture of Donald Revell jumping onto a lecture table, I would love to see that in person!