A much-needed showcase for one of America's greatest and most neglected poets.



Although Melville devoted the last three decades of his life to verse, his poetry has always taken a back seat to his formidable reputation as a novelist. His penchant for narrative verse set to fairly conservative meters makes his work seem at first glance less interesting than that of Dickinson and Whitman. However, close examination reveals an intensity and variety of thought and feeling that is rare in any period of American poetry. In fact, Melville can match Whitman's expansiveness, or Dickinson's syntactic hermeticism—as he does in the brief manifesto "Greek Architecture" ("Not magnitude, not lavishness / But Form—the Site; / Not innovating willfulness, / But reverence for the archetype"). While Northwestern has been planning a complete collection of Melville's verse for several years, the volume has yet to materialize; in the meantime, Robillard's generous selection comes closest to a definitive edition. Included are a long and helpful introduction; the complete poetic texts of Melville's three published books; 60 pages of selections from Melville's four-volume narrative poem, “Clarel”; and several important poems left in manuscript at the end of Melville's life. The edition is hardly a perfect one. Robillard's notes are brief and tend to summarize plot instead of identifying cruxes or aiding with obscure references. He inexplicably leaves out the prose elements of the first book, including Melville's own notes to the poems. The excerpts from “Clarel” include neither the introduction, with its Chaucerian intimacy, nor the powerful conclusion, though the last two stanzas are quoted in the notes. But a great strength of Robillard's collection is its emphasis on Melville's sometimes drastic manuscript changes, which gives the opportunity to watch the poems evolve in calculated and at times surprising ways.

A much-needed showcase for one of America's greatest and most neglected poets.

Pub Date: June 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-87338-660-4

Page Count: 416

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2000

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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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Shalvis’ latest retains her spark and sizzle.


Piper Manning is determined to sell her family’s property so she can leave her hometown behind, but when her siblings come back with life-changing secrets and her sexy neighbor begins to feel like “The One,” she might have to redo her to-do list.

As children, Piper and her younger siblings, Gavin and Winnie, were sent to live with their grandparents in Wildstone, California, from the Congo after one of Gavin’s friends was killed. Their parents were supposed to meet them later but never made it. Piper wound up being more of a parent than her grandparents, though: “In the end, Piper had done all the raising. It’d taken forever, but now, finally, her brother and sister were off living their own lives.” Piper, the queen of the bullet journal, plans to fix up the family’s lakeside property her grandparents left the three siblings when they died. Selling it will enable her to study to be a physician’s assistant as she’s always wanted. However, just as the goal seems in sight, Gavin and Winnie come home, ostensibly for Piper’s 30th birthday, and then never leave. Turns out, Piper’s brother and sister have recently managed to get into a couple buckets of trouble, and they need some time to reevaluate their options. They aren’t willing to share their problems with Piper, though they’ve been completely open with each other. And Winnie, who’s pregnant, has been very open with Piper’s neighbor Emmitt Reid and his visiting son, Camden, since the baby’s father is Cam’s younger brother, Rowan, who died a few months earlier in a car accident. Everyone has issues to navigate, made more complicated by Gavin and Winnie’s swearing Cam to secrecy just as he and Piper try—and fail—to ignore their attraction to each other. Shalvis keeps the physical and emotional tension high, though the siblings’ refusal to share with Piper becomes tedious and starts to feel childish.

Shalvis’ latest retains her spark and sizzle.

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296139-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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