WATERMARK

A very, very short prose-exercise by Nobelist Brodsky about Venice, his many wintertime trips there, the enchantment and ironies and visual splendors. Brodsky has piquant ideas about space and time (see Less Than One, 1986) that lend interesting angles to his Venice-for-visitors: ideas about water, light, brick (``an alternative order of flesh, not raw of course, but scarlet and made up of small, identical cells. Yet another of the species' self-portraits at the elemental level, be it a wall or a chimney''). He finds himself one evening in the company of Olga Rudge, Ezra Pound's companion, which engenders a wonderfully European assessment of Pound: ``For someone with such a long record of residence in Italy, it was odd that he hadn't recognized that beauty can't be targeted, that it is always a by-product of other, often very ordinary pursuits.'' Brodsky writes poetically of winter light: ``And the city lingers in it, savoring its touch, the caress of the infinity whence it came. An object, after all, is what makes infinity private.'' When he's setting up to make aphorisms like this, Brodsky sails along. But even in such a tiny book he can't always be doing that; and when he isn't, he writes personally, with an air of swagger, lechery, and disdain (for homosexuals in particular, it seems) that makes his meditations seem more crotchety than anything else: Venice gets lost in the fog.

Pub Date: June 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-14812-0

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1992

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

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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