"When history proves useless and consensus chimerical," Donald Revell has written, "the poet's necessity is invention, and this does a lot to explain our century's preference for revision over mimesis." For Revell, The disruptions of this century have destroyed old illusions of historical continuity: "The consolations of history are furtive,/ then fugitive, then forgotten." Invoking such contemporary events as the collapse of communism and the end of the Cold War, he seeks to integrate the political with the personal in a search for new paradigms of value and honor.

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