An affecting recollection of a life rich in literature and love.



A poet reflects on her long marriage and struggle to define her own career.

In a graceful, engaging memoir, Schulman (English/Baruch Coll., CUNY; Without a Claim, 2013, etc.)—former poetry editor of the Nation, director of the Poetry Center at the 92nd Street Y, and winner of the Frost Medal for Distinguished Lifetime Achievement in American Poetry—writes candidly about her marriage to virologist Jerome Schulman, her literary aspirations, and her grief following her husband’s recent death. She takes her title from lines by Marianne Moore, describing marriage as “that strange paradise / unlike flesh, gold, or stately buildings / the choicest part of my life.” Schulman met Moore when she was 14, the beginning of a warm friendship. She edited an authorized edition of Moore’s poems and focused on her work in her doctoral dissertation. Many other poets, writers, and artists make appearances as Schulman recounts the trajectory of her career. These include novelist Richard Yates; poets W.S. Merwin, Joseph Brodsky, and Derek Walcott; critic Irving Howe; and many of the acclaimed writers—e.g., James Baldwin, Allen Ginsberg, Robert Lowell, and Octavio Paz—Schulman invited to the 92nd Street Y. Much of the memoir focuses less on her marriage than her achievements in the literary world. Schulman married reluctantly, fearful of giving up her independence, but her husband never failed in encouraging her to write and submit her work for publication; she chafed, though, at being dependent on his income as she embarked on her career, and her resentment “seeped into our marriage like smoke.” With their discovery of Jerome’s infertility and their inability to talk frankly about adoption, the marriage foundered, leading to a 10-year separation. “My marriage,” she admits, “has been a feast of contradiction: radiance and dissatisfaction; intense loyalties and devastating treacheries; freedom and the sacrifice, albeit willing, of independence; excitement and a kind of pleasant boredom.” They reunited only to then face Jerome’s illness and a heart attack, followed by years of suffering and deterioration.

An affecting recollection of a life rich in literature and love.

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-885983-52-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Turtle Point

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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