A compelling, detail-rich resource about Tang verse.



This primer on Tang dynasty–era poetry addresses Chinese history and linguistics and the tricky task of translation.

Retired surgeon Hung’s (The Chinese Language Demystified, 2018, etc.) overview of verse written during the Tang period, which lasted from 618 to 907, will be accessible to novices and a rich resource for experts. He takes a multipronged approach, beginning with a brief description of life in Tang China before delving into its literary traditions. It was a time of economic expansion that also saw an increase in artistic output. The book centers on three poets who were particularly prolific during the period: Li Bai, Du Fu, and Wang Wei, who were each influential in their home country as well as abroad. Hung explains the nuances of classical Chinese characters, which were misinterpreted by prominent Western writers, such as Ezra Pound, to be mainly pictograms. His book aims to give non-Chinese readers the tools to appreciate the beauty of Tang poetry in their original characters as well as in their translations. Hung shows creativity in how he displays the authors’ poems; first, he presents them in calligraphy, then in Pinyin (romanized words, meant to represent the sound of each character) with literal translations of each line. Afterward, he provides examples of several different English translations of each poem. (At times, the book feels like an expanded meditation on Eliot Weinberger’s 1987 book 19 Ways of Looking at Wang Wei.) Readers will receive a new appreciation not just for Tang poetry, but also for the challenges of translating such verse. Not only is classical Chinese very different from modern Chinese, but translators also have to keep in mind rhythm, details, and images, not all of which will have direct English translations. With a keen eye for detail and extraordinary patience, Hung relates the nuances of producing and translating poetry. His explanations are aided by his thoughtful historical accounts of life in Tang China and his descriptions of the political and economic circumstances that marked each poet’s life.

A compelling, detail-rich resource about Tang verse.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-0-692-04408-7

Page Count: 199

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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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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With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    


Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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