The Art of Attention: A Poet's Eye

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9781555974749: The Art of Attention: A Poet's Eye

The Art Of series is a new series of brief books by contemporary writers on important craft issues. Each book investigates an element of the craft of fiction, creative nonfiction, or poetry by discussing works by authors past and present. The books in the Art Of series are not strictly manuals, but serve readers and writers by illuminating aspects of the craft of writing that people think they already know but don't really know.

Donald Revell argues passionately for the transformation that imaginative experience elicits through poetry. "The art of poetry is not about the acquisition of wiles or the deployment of strategies," Revell writes. "Beginning in the senses, imagination senses farther, senses more." Using examples from his own poetry
and translations and from Blake and Thoreau to Ronald Johnson and John Ashbery, Revell's The Art of Attention: A Poet's Eye takes the writer beyond the workshop and into the world of vision.

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About the Author:

DONALD REVELL is the author of ten poetry collections, including Pennyweight Windows: New & Selected Poems and My Mojave, which won the Lenore Marshall Prize. He teaches at the University of Utah, and lives in the desert south of Las Vegas.

From Publishers Weekly:

This short and wonderful second book of prose from poet Revell (A Thief of Strings) begins as an essay on luminous mystical vision and ends as a poetic autobiography, explaining how the poet got from the bitter, involuted verse of his first books to his pellucid, delighted and delightful recent work. In between, Revell argues that poets should translate, with examples from Ezra Pound and Revell's own engagement with Guillaume Apollinaire; he also argues that familiar ideas about imagination, originality, craft and revision have the true poetic process exactly backwards. True poetry, for Revell as for his frequent model Thoreau, flows from openness to whatever awaits us outside the self. That openness is for Revell finally religious (in his case, Christian): it is simply natural, he maintains, that plain attention is a piety and that the unaggressive articulation of attention in poems may be a form of prayer, an instance of worship. This compact book (part of Graywolf's new Art Of series on the craft of writing) seems designed in part for poetry workshops, but Revell's unusual take makes this as much a warmhearted essay on metaphysics as a guidebook, which is likely to make any poetry lover stop and pay attention. (Aug.)
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