An essential report on the state of the art of American letters.

PUSHCART PRIZE XLIV

BEST OF THE SMALL PRESSES 2020 EDITION

The venerable literary anthology turns 44, celebrated with the trademark mix of top-shelf poetry, fiction, and essays.

Not everyone who began the journey with Henderson in the mid-1970s is around today: The editor names Tony Hoagland, W.S. Merwin, and Mary Oliver among the recently fallen, and a poem by Tom Sleigh, among other commemorations, honors Denis Johnson, who died in 2017. The contribution by Hoagland, an essay called “The Cure for Racism Is Cancer,” explores the disease that felled him. “From this rocky promontory,” he writes, “you can contemplate the long history of your choices, your mistakes, your good luck. You can think about race, too, because most of the people who care for you will be nonwhite, often from other countries….Your attention is made keen by need and by your intimate dependence upon these inexhaustibly kind strangers.” Hal Crowther contemplates another kind of death in his essay “Dante on Broadway,” in which he notes that the Florence of Dante’s time supported public schools with more than 10,000 students, whereas “seven centuries later in America, a republic with infinitely more wealth and a much higher technical rate of literacy, only the most stubborn optimist could overlook the intellectual stagnation and cultural dry rot that make another Dark Age seem possible, if not imminent.” The point is well taken. In a collection full of standouts and only the occasional clunker, there are many excellent contributions, including a poem by Juan Felipe Herrera remarking on the things border crossers leave behind in the desert, with “children still running with / torn faces all the way to Tucson”; a slightly sardonic story by the always readable Joy Williams; and an entertaining tale by Jason Brown that recounts the odd interaction of an unnamed writer with an eccentric couple: “The quality of Grandma’s crab cakes suffered after five hours of drinking, but semi-inebriation was the only state in which she would agree to feed people outside the family.”

An essential report on the state of the art of American letters.

Pub Date: Dec. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-888889-95-6

Page Count: 600

Publisher: Pushcart

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more