THE PUSHCART PRIZE XX

BEST OF THE SMALL PRESSES

The Pushcart Prize's 20th anniversary is a cause for celebration and concern. No devoted reader can criticize the Pushcart Prize's raison d'àtre: to recognize the best stories, poems, and essays published by small presses and literary magazines and bring them to a wider audience. This 20th collection contains much to delight, a spectral range of voices: lyrical, brutal, naive, devious. Debra Spark's ``Last Things'' is a shockingly, admirably honest account of her sister's early death from cancer. The homespun narrator of Marie Sheppard Williams's ``Wilma Bremer's Funeral'' is a quietly authentic creation. Poetry ranges from Diann Blakely Shoaf's dizzying ``Solo, New Orleans'' to an elegant canto selected from Robert Pinsky's new translation of Dante's Inferno. A few selections, like ``False Water Society'' by Ben Marcus, are utterly baffling. Such a rich collection should send all writers scurrying to their desks, thrilled with fresh energy. But will it prove worth it? The powers behind Pushcart sometimes feel like a private club; this year's winners are too often listed as nominators for other pieces in the same anthology. Literary lions like Joyce Carol Oates, John Updike, and John Barth seem to have been included not for the merit of their curiously self-conscious pieces but to lend literary weight to the group. In his introduction, Henderson (Her Father: A Memoir, p. 1079, etc.) writes of Rick Moody's ``The Ring of Brightest Angels Around Heaven'': ``Lee [Smith] and I picked Rick's novellathe longest piece ever to run hereafter Rick was excused from the room.'' Cozy, but discouraging to the ranks of the undiscovered. The Pushcart Prize, ideally, should both celebrate noncommercial literature and inspire those who will ensure its continued health in an increasingly bottom-line world. In its 20th year, it is more successful on the first count than the second.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-916366-99-5

Page Count: 580

Publisher: Pushcart

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1995

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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

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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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