A cornucopia of essays sure to lead to conversations with one another that will inform, puzzle, and surprise.



Take one daily and call me every morning. That’s the website header for Essay Daily, the source for this anthology.

Founded by Monson (Creative Writing/Univ. of Arizona; Letter to a Future Lover: Marginalia, Errata, Secrets, Inscriptions, and Other Ephemera Found in Libraries, 2015, etc.) as a sort of rival to a number of popular poetry daily websites, Essay Daily has been publishing an essay per day (almost) since 2010. In his introduction, Monson quotes Edward Hoagland: “Essays are how we speak to one another in print.” Monson and Reinbold, the former Essay Daily managing editor, provide a series of eclectic essays, many of which demonstrate that an essay can be a number of things. Marcia Aldrich, in her discussion of Bernard Cooper’s “The Fine Art of Sighing,” notes its “concise and lyrical prose, its brevity…[and] the constructed undertow of its associative method.” In a terrific and highly informative essay by Robert Atwan, longtime editor of the Best American Essays series, he wonders why the essay suffered “diminished literary status” for much of the 20th century, why it was relegated to a “minor or even subliterary genre.” He points his finger at John Crowe Ransom, noting even E.B. White once called the essayist a “second-class citizen.” No more. This book clearly demonstrates the essay is alive and well, kicking and evolving, grappling with its place in literature. Here one will encounter the “long-lyric essay,” a couple essays about book-long essays, and a piece about a lady who wrote only one piece, an essay. There’s also a piece on Phillip Lopate’s The Art of the Personal Essay and one by Lopate himself on a little-known “gem” by Max Beerbohm, And Even Now. Other contributors include John D’Agata, Albert Goldbarth, Elena Passarello, and V.V. Ganeshananthan.

A cornucopia of essays sure to lead to conversations with one another that will inform, puzzle, and surprise.

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-56689-457-9

Page Count: 328

Publisher: Coffee House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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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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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.


A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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