poem index

About this poet

Born in the Bronx on June 12, 1954, Donald Revell is a graduate of SUNY-Binghamton and SUNY-Buffalo. His first collection of poems, From the Abandoned Cities, was published by Harper & Row in 1983.

Since then, he has published several collections, including: The Bitter Withy (Alice James Books, 2009); A Thief of Strings (2007); Pennyweight Windows: New And Selected Poems (2005); My Mojave (2003); Arcady (Wesleyan, 2002); There Are Three (Wesleyan, 1998); Beautiful Shirt (Wesleyan, 1994); Erasures (Wesleyan, 1992); New Dark Ages (Wesleyan, 1990); and The Gaza of Winter (University of Georgia Press, 1988).

He has also translated two volumes of the poetry of Guillaume Apollinaire: Alcools (1995) and The Self-Dismembered Man: Selected Later Poems (2004), both from Wesleyan.

Revell's essays have appeared in The Art of Attention: A Poet's Eye (Graywolf Press, 2007) and Invisible Green: Selected Prose (OmniDawn, 2005)

His honors include a Pushcart Prize, the Shestack Prize, the Gertrude Stein Award, the PEN Center USA Award for poetry, as well as fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and from the Ingram Merrill and John Simon Guggenheim Memorial foundations.

Editor of Denver Quarterly from 1988-94, Revell has been a poetry editor of Colorado Review since 1996. He has taught at the Universities of Tennessee, Missouri, Iowa, Alabama, and Denver. Since 1994, he has been a Professor of English at the University of Utah, where he serves as Director of Creative Writing.

Revell currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, with his wife, poet Claudia Keelan, and their son, Benjamin.

Election Year

Donald Revell, 1954
A jet of mere phantom
Is a brook, as the land around
Turns rocky and hollow.
Those airplane sounds
Are the drowning of bicyclists.
Leaping, a bridesmaid leaps.
You asked for my autobiography.
Imagine the greeny clicking sound
Of hummingbirds in a dry wood,
And there you’d have it. Other birds
Pour over the walls now.
I'd never suspected: every day,
Although the nation is done for,
I find new flowers.

From A Thief of Strings, Copyright © 2007 by Donald Revell. Reprinted with permission of Alice James Books.

Donald Revell

Donald Revell

Born in the Bronx on June 12, 1954, Donald Revell is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including My Mojave

by this poet

poem
Sha-
Dow,
As of
A meteor
At mid-
Day: it goes
From there.

A perfect circle falls
Onto white imperfections.
(Consider the black road,
How it seems white the entire
Length of a sunshine day.)

Or I could say
Shadows and mirage
Compensate the world, 
Completing its changes
With no change.

In the morning after a
poem
They all wore little hats
Vermont that  I
Can see, the river its coronet
Of yellow beetles—crawling,
Flying—the flowers wearing
The river for a hat.
I can see that 
When I stand alone
Upon this acre as now
Sober and living, the same, the same.

They wore:
Hats.
They are not dead,
John and Johnny and John,
Which
poem
It doesn't matter
A damn what's playing—
In the dead of winter
You go, days of 1978 -
79, and we went
Because the soldiers were beautiful
And doomed as Asian jungles
Kept afire Christ-like
In the hopeless war
I did not go to in the end
Because it ended.

The 20th-century?
It was a war
Between peasants on the one