Approachable, effective excerpts afford breathtaking encounters with genius.

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ESSENTIAL ESSAYS

CULTURE, POLITICS, AND THE ART OF POETRY

An anthology of the acclaimed poet and essayist’s most searing prose.

This compendium demonstrates how Rich (Tonight No Poetry Will Serve: Poems 2007-2010, 2010, etc.), who won numerous prestigious awards during her life (1929-2012), also distinguished herself as a formidable public intellectual, literary critic, and cultural theorist. Arguing that the masculine world order has discounted the perspectives of women, Rich devoted her life to fostering “a collective description of the world which will be truly ours.” Her essays leveraged her poems and journal entries as illustrations because she sought to dissolve the barriers between the personal, the political, and the aesthetic. In the section taken from her landmark book Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution (1976), the author contrasts the supposed bliss of maternity with the “anxiety, physical weariness, anger, self-blame, boredom, and division within myself” that she felt as a mother of three young children. This collection features representative samples of Rich’s signature critical move, the “re-vision” of literary foremothers whose works had long been misappropriated and misunderstood. She claims, for instance, that Emily Dickinson’s reclusive lifestyle was not a sentimental tragedy but rather a practical and liberating choice for an ambitious writer conscious of her unorthodox brilliance and that the carefully controlled style in A Room of One’s Own enabled Virginia Woolf to write for women while being overheard by men. Rich’s outspoken alliance with lesbian feminists has tended to discourage those readers who could most benefit from her work, yet her thoughts about gender and identity from the 1970s and ’80s sound all too current: “A change in the concept of sexual identity is essential if we are not going to see the old political order reassert itself in every new revolution.” Feminist poet and literary critic Gilbert skillfully selects examples that convey the considerable breadth of Rich’s purview as an essayist and exhibit her characteristic strategy of rejecting surface explanations and turning experience around in the light of subjective truth.

Approachable, effective excerpts afford breathtaking encounters with genius.

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-393-65236-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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