Christensen’s probing, questioning, hopeful voice was an important one and is missed, but we can still hear it in this...



Insights into a poet who was definitely not living in an ivory tower.

Danish author Christensen (Light, Grass, and Letter in April, 2011, etc.) was one of Scandinavia’s finest experimental poets. Thoughtful and ruminative, these essays, skillfully rendered by translator Nied, reveal what poetry meant to Christensen (1935-2009) and how she wrote it. She calls herself “an almost insanely enthusiastic ‘enthusiast of language.’ " Her concerns were many—nature, art, philosophy, freedom, equality, and politics, including Ronald Reagan and Alexander Haig—and her artistic influences wide-ranging: Blake and Newton, Magritte, Elias Canetti, Chomsky, Maurice Blanchot, Merleau-Ponty, and Giordano Bruno. In the first essay, Christensen recalls having three “experiences” as a young girl, “still nearly indescribable.” Those “warm summer images” were her “first aesthetic experiences.” “Silk, the Universe, Language, the Heart” is her poetic discourse on another discourse, Lu Chi’s Wen Fu. The author explores how language is alive for her: “All nouns are very lonely,” adjectives, “helpless,” adverbs, “quite strong-willed,” verbs, “very agreeable,” and prepositions, “nearly invisible.” By writing poetry, Christensen believes, “we’re trying to produce something that we ourselves are already a product of.” She envisions the Big Bang as a “poem” we’re “in the middle of.” When she writes, she “sometimes pretend[s] it’s not me but language itself that’s writing.” As “human beings, we can’t avoid being part of the artistic process.” Christensen excitedly describes working on her poetry collection alphabet, which was a “great adventure.” Poetry, declares the author, is “not truth—it’s not even the dream of truth—poetry is passion—it’s a game, maybe a tragic game, the game we play with a world that plays its own game with us.”

Christensen’s probing, questioning, hopeful voice was an important one and is missed, but we can still hear it in this provocative book.

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8112-2811-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: New Directions

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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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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