A nostalgic, rueful, and sometimes sweetly funny collection.



Digressive, impressionistic musings on love, loss, and “the multiselves we all carry inside.”

When he was a boy, poet and essayist Goldbarth (Creative Writing/Wichita State Univ.; Selfish: Poems, 2015, etc.) was thrilled by a publishing gimmick promoted by Ace Books: for 35 cents, science-fiction fans could buy two books in one, “each upside down to the other, each with its independent enticing cover and title page.” Goldbarth uses this “topsy-turvying” for his latest collection of previously published essays, but since both sides have the same cover, containing essays not thematically or stylistically different, his choice, though obviously an homage, seems puzzling. More logical was his plan to publish an Ace Double with a life of Keats on one side and a life of Clyde Tombaugh—a self-taught astronomer who discovered 29,000 galaxies, 3,196 asteroids, 1,800 variable stars, 2 comets, and the planet Pluto—on the other. As it is, Goldbarth tells both stories in “Two Characters in Search of an Essay,” an imaginative juxtaposition of two lives focused on, and guided by, a quest to transcend mundane reality. The author shares that quest: “I want to write a poem that’s good enough to endure beyond my own bodily life,” he confesses; “I want to work at a marriage that’s finally larger and more luminous than either I or my wife as individuals.” Love—between Keats and Fanny Brawne, for example, or Goldbarth and his wife—occupies his thoughts, as does the mirroring of past and present. He muses on lust in “Roman Erotic Poetry,” which juxtaposes the love poems of Catullus with the “con-, recom-, and uncombining” of friends and colleagues: Martha and Arthur, who have split up; and Sweet and Danny, who seem obviously in love—obvious to everyone but themselves. “We are so royally screwed up, we human beings,” concludes the author, whose tone ranges from poetic and literary to slapdash and colloquial, which can make for jarring reading.

A nostalgic, rueful, and sometimes sweetly funny collection.

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-55597-761-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Graywolf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2016

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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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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