Rotalever Revelator is a book made from words that spell other words backwards: a giant palindrome that contains poems about geography, dams, swamps, celebrities, eponyms, and the news. There’s also a translation of the first part of “Burnt Norton” and a multi-lingual section, “O Rue Euro,” with German, French, Italian, and Spanish beating up on English, and vice-versa.
Flip the book over, and you have Revelator Rotalever: the same sequence of letters, differently divided into words and punctuated.
Doug Nufer’s stop-at-nothing inventiveness, an object lesson in transforming the merest opportunity into delight, is matched here by James Siena’s stylish illustrations.
“This isn’t the first time Nufer has made a flippable book—his Ace Doubles homage The Mudflat Man/The River Boys had the same basic format—but this time Nufer really digs into the idea of what it means to have a book with two separate but equal front covers, first pages, and so on. Revelator Rotalever is a mirror image of Rotalever Revelator but also the two books combine into an ouroboros of language, a long palindrome with two beginnings and two ends, or perhaps no beginning and no end.
“Nufer writes himself into the work this time, shouting his own name into the echo chamber on multiple occasions. The first two words of Revelator Rotalever are “Nufer snips.” The last three words of Rotalever Revelator are “…spins re: fun.” Nufer snips and spins the language. Why? For the fun of it….
“Rotalever is the kind of book that makes you want to stay inside and wrestle, flipping back and forth to see how it speaks to itself. I got my copy a week ago and it’s already battered beyond repair—spine broken, pages bent, edges scuffed from turning and re-turning and returning in a palindromic journey to the end of the beginning and the beginning of the end.”
—Paul Constant in The Seattle Review of Books