Saturday, October 27, 2007

If You Claim the Name of Poet... should run to the bookstore to buy Donald Revell's book, The Art of Attention. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I picked this up at the Twin Cities Book Festival, a lollapalooza of local presses. I thought it looked interesting. I just finished the first section and I am floored by how good it is.

In this book, Revell examines the lyric eye, probably the most important quality of a modern poet. He contrasts the poetry of cleverness or wit against the poetry of rapture and focus, favoring the later. In Revell's view, a poem is a tangible product of our fierce attention to the world, rather than our shaping of the world. We don't invent the world when we write, we notice it in its glory. The poetry of attention as he calls is it is intimate, peaceful, unagressive and watchful. As he says, "the poet reads the world with writing."

This is pretty revelatory writing. I find myself underlining every third sentence. When I read it back now to isolate a few quotes, his sentences are so intertwined that I cannot excerpt it to give a good representation of its breadth and depth. Needless to say, if you write poetry or want to write poetry, this is the book to read.


Clay Lowe said...

Hi Jessica,

Thanks for sharing this. I read your blog regularly, although this is my first comment. I like your words.


Paul said...

It may be worth a look ! ;-)

Jo said...

Thanks for the tip-off. I'll nip over to Amazon.