THE FROST FAMILY'S ADVENTURE IN POETRY

SHEER MORNING GLADNESS AT THE BRIM

The poet's granddaughter refutes the ``crude psychoanalytical'' interpretation of Frost proffered by Lawrance Thompson in his contentious biography and offers instead a picture of a generous, responsible, and playful father-poet. Drawing on family papers and the childhood notebooks and artwork of Robert Frost's four children between 1905 and 1915, Francis (the daughter of Frost's eldest, Lesley) captures the dynamics of a literary family, the ``symbiotic relationship'' among parents and children, the energy, nurturing, and fantasy that characterized the way Frost awakened the artist in each child. The book covers the early years in Derry, NH, and then in England, where Frost was first discovered: This was the ``halcyon'' period when, educated at home, the children were encouraged to write, draw, express themselves. They produced gift albums, pictures, poems, stories recounting adventures, games, scenery, and friendships in a ``haphazard'' and disorderly household where Frost did most of the cooking, teaching, and playing. From 1912 to 1915, the children, their friends, and parents contributed to a magazine they called the Bouquet that included pieces by Edward Thomas, the English journalist-critic and Frost's closest friend (the Frosts brought his son to America at the outbreak of WW I, in which Thomas was killed). This idyllic decade takes on particular poignancy in the context of the personal losses that followed, emphasized in the concluding chapter: Frost, a widower of 83, having lost a daughter to tuberculosis and a son to suicide, returns to England to accept honorary degrees from Oxford and Cambridge and to visit the cottages where he had lived as a young father and undiscovered poet. A credible and unsentimental story that illuminates Frost's personality, the quality of his life, the sources of his creativity, and the value of artistic education. (Illustrations and photos)

Pub Date: May 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-8262-0945-9

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Univ. of Missouri

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1994

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

more