It has been awhile since I really felt like I had to slog through a book, but this was surely one. Perhaps this is mere pretense on my part -- not recognizing how often artists (and everyone) does this, day to day -- but it's almost unseemly how Revell uses his own poetry in the latter half of the book to illustrate his points.
Whatever they might happen to be. And I'm not sure what they are.
As best I can tell, Revell holds to the mystical notion that poetry springs from... mystery. Or rather: Mystery. I wouldn't disagree, but it's hard to get a whole book out of such. Hence, perhaps, his reliance on self-consumption... and regurgitation.
It's like listening to a particularly earnest and ecstatic executive chef (and an insufferably self-focused one at that) -- say, for Applebees -- wax "lyrical" and obtusely over the marvel of souffles.
To Revell's credit, he does not trumpet himself as master -- it is not nearly so gross as that -- but there is an unsettling egotism to the entire book.
All that said, there are some interesting bits: reminding the reader of Wallace Stevens' admonition that "being there together is enough" and Revell's own assertion that "Composition is taxidermy." And there's this little gem of an exercise:
"Sometimes I like to ask my students to translate one of their own poems into a nonexistent language of their own invention." (71)That strikes a masterful note. Noteworthy, unfortunately, for how it stands out among the clanging, tiresome rest.