THE PUSHCART PRIZE XXIII

BEST OF THE SMALL PRESSES

Here’s the ever-welcome annual sampling of noncommercial publishing, full enough of poems, stories, and essays to redeem Henderson’s somewhat self-congratulatory introductory declaration of literary independence (and survival). This year the essays rank a bit higher than the stories, despite biggish-name contributions by Colum McCann, Jeffery Eugenides, Frederick Busch, and Stephen Dixon. Founding editor Joyce Carol Oates delivers a hallmark portrayal of family secrets and hidden violence in “Faithless,” and Thomas Disch offers a jet-black satire of NEA-sponsored theater in “The First Annual Performance Festival at Slaughter Rock.” Otherwise, the stories often show the watermark of writing workshops in their pages (although none of this basically competent selection could be confused with the assembly-line fiction of the ’80s). The idiosyncratic personal essay is clearly well suited to the Pushcart arena, although essays here are outnumbered by other genres. The best include Andre Dubus’s moving reflection on teaching Hemingway’s story “In Another Country”; Francine Prose’s quirky profile of her father’s career as a pathologist at New York City’s Bellevue Hospital; Julie Showalter’s vivid memoir of hardscrabble farming in “The Turkey Stories”; and Emily Fox Gordon’s tartly amusing rumination on girls’-school hierarchies and modern feminism in “The Most Responsible Girl.” The few essays about poetry, such as Carol Muske’s on Auden’s honorable self-sabotage of his laureateship in “There Goes the Nobel Prize,” outstrip in quality many of the poems. Among the poetry contributors are Toi Derricotte, Marilyn Hacker, and Grace Schulman. “Nobody wants to buy us!” exclaims Henderson, to account for Pushcart’s successful existence outside corporate publishing—no one, that is, except readers interested in good writing.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1998

ISBN: 1-888889-09-8

Page Count: 600

Publisher: Pushcart

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1998

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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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