RIMBAUD IN ABYSSINIA

By age 20, when he mysteriously renounced his poetic career without publishing a single volume, Rimbaud had created a body of poetry that many still consider perfect; at age 27, after a brief life of wandering in Europe, he went to North Africa, where he amassed a small fortune in trading guns and coffee. At the same age, though a century later, Borer, a French Rimbaud specialist, accompanied by a TV crew filming a documentary of Rimbaud's last ten years, followed Rimbaud's footsteps—producing along with the film this fascinating, bewildering, and innovative study. Joining the great array of ``Rimbaudians,'' as Borer calls them—the many writers, from the poet's own sister to Enid Starkie and Henry Miller, whom Rimbaud inspired—Borer explores the puzzles and eccentricities of Rimbaud: his fascination with evil; his sensuality; his iconoclasm and rage; his experiments with drugs, love, religion; his restlessness; his crimes—he had a police record in every country he visited and provoked Paul Verlaine, his lover whom he tortured with knives, into shooting him. Despising convention, courtesy, morality (``a weakness of the brain''), glorifying evil and excess, Rimbaud became a permanent symbol of adolescent rebellion before literally escaping from his own identity as the ``visionary'' that he described in the one book he published during his life, an autobiography of his own mind called A Season in Hell. Borer searches for the vestiges of this identity in the adventurer-entrepreneur Rimbaud became—and, in the process, finds the poet in himself. An odd combination of Rimbaud himself, his words and his experiments with form, and the assertive, fragmentary style of the TV documentary on which the book is based—a very challenging read for those uninitiated in Rimbaud and ``Rimbaudrary.'' The translation must have been a trial: What to make of ``his bulimia for reading remained unsated''?

Pub Date: Nov. 22, 1991

ISBN: 0-688-07594-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1991

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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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