The best of these pieces stand on their own but also serve as invitations for responses by other aspiring writers.

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REAL WOMEN'S STORIES

A collection of brief essays in an annual volume by emerging writers recounting women’s experiences in the world.

From self-care to care for children and elderly parents, women’s lives often require sharply honed balancing skills. The opening essay, by Ava Carmel, recounts a visit from her home in Israel to her mother’s home halfway across the world, a place of half-heard exchanges of pleasantry and information, ritual application of makeup (“I find the entire makeup routine silly, yet fascinating. At ninety-four years old, she still has to ‘put on a face’ before leaving her apartment or before anyone comes to visit, even me”), and rueful remembrance (“despite being mostly obedient and subdued at home, I rebelled often, with vengeance”). All are matters that will be familiar to almost anyone with surviving parents. Marlena M. Matute, a young Latina writer, recounts her efforts to stay in school while battling economic hardship; as she writes, with great wisdom, “here’s something people don’t tell you: being homeless is more expensive than if you’re not.” By that she means that once off the good-credit treadmill, it’s hard to jump on, particularly in a world of first-and-last-month’s-rent-and-deposit. Some of the essays address surviving abuse and domestic violence, addiction and alcoholism, rape and betrayal; most, despite the horrors they recount, are hopeful and even helpful in assuring readers that they, too, can survive and even attain dreams that might seem out of reach. One of the most forceful declarations comes from former model Penny James: “It was empowering to realize we can choose to never be stuck counting on someone and feeling let down when we need them the most, whether in love or business.”

The best of these pieces stand on their own but also serve as invitations for responses by other aspiring writers.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9980201-8-1

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Author Connections

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2017

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

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

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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