A closely observed collection on nature and environmentalism.



Held’s (Neighbors: The Yard Critters Too, 2013, etc.) poetry collection praises the natural world and issues a dark warning about climate change.

Beginning with winter, Held takes the reader through the changes of the season and divides his collection accordingly. In poems such as “The Snow” and “Crow(s),” Held speaks simply but precisely of the reliable darkness and quiet of the winter months. In “The Waning Moon,” he voices a late-winter feeling that the season will never end, wondering, “Will life renew in spring?” Like Henry David Thoreau in “Walden,” the author meditates appreciatively on nature. For example, in “April,” Held recalls his springtime chores and rituals that leave him with sore shoulders and splinters, but which he longs for in the late winter. In “Green Again,” he recalls the restorative nature of spring, comparing a tree’s transformation to art—“leaves uncurling along every twig, / like daubs of paint in a Monet.” The ruminations also contain crucial warnings about climate change. For example, the apocalyptically titled “Glacial Warning” begins with sobering statistics about the rapid rate at which Norway’s glaciers are melting. In “Sad Birds,” Held mourns the results of the BP oil spill while darkly satirizing the thought of a BP executive lost in the wreckage. Held also looks beyond the hurricane season, examining the wreckage that such weather leaves behind while considering “the cost / of putting stakes down near the coast.” Throughout, Held includes a few one-off poems that are not as strong or poignant as the others. In one, Held makes light of a tick latching onto a hiker, writing, “her blood will require a regime / of Penicillin to combat her Lyme.” Overall, the work is strong and strikes a fine balance between meditative appreciation and concern, capturing nature’s splendor while noting its impermanence.

A closely observed collection on nature and environmentalism.

Pub Date: Oct. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0615910079

Page Count: 88

Publisher: Poets Wear Prada

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2015

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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