A rapturous operating manual for the soul.

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THE ORIGINAL INSTRUCTIONS

REFLECTIONS OF AN ELDER ON THE TEACHINGS OF THE ELDERS, ADAPTING ANCIENT WISDOM TO THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY

Native American spirituality is the cure for what ails humanity, according to this rhapsodic New Age manifesto.

Mankind went wrong, argues Manitonquat, a Wampanoag poet, editor and counselor, at the first stirrings of civilization when we learned to exploit plants and animals instead of revere them, and to live in big cities instead of little bands. The result is a present-day culture stewing in violence, inequality, sexism, environmental devastation and global warming, one that “plunders everything, robs, rapes, pillages and murders its own and every other species, becoming madder, more enraged and more insane with every passing year.” Fortunately, he writes, we can regain sanity by recalling the “original instructions” the Creator meant us to obey, which are still remembered by the elders of the First Nations (the author, having seen 80 winters, is one). The central injunction is to abjure puritanical notions of sin and damnation and to cultivate a respectful awareness that “all of Creation is sacred and holy.” (And that, Manitonquat insists, means all of Creation, from the stars up above to head lice, intestinal parasites and Osama bin Laden). Further instructions comprise a catalogue of virtues: honesty, humility, generosity and hospitality; a keen appreciation for beauty (vultures and maggots included); the courage to oppose injustice; a childlike curiosity and playfulness. The comforting—and challenging—message is that we can heal the wounds of modernity if we turn away from greed, materialism and arrogant self-importance, commune with the Earth and cultivate an intimate connectedness to each other. Manitonquat’s prose has a sonorous, liturgical tone and rhythm, but it’s shot through with passages of lyrical nature writing (“there is an endless song here, made of wind, cries of sea birds, and the incessant crumbling rollers of the Atlantic roughly caressing the level sands”), indigenous folk stories, child-rearing tips, discussions of hominid evolution and bawdy jokes. His is a soaring spiritual vision that nevertheless remains rooted in the soil of everyday experience.

A rapturous operating manual for the soul.

Pub Date: June 29, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-4389-8079-9

Page Count: 192

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Sept. 7, 2010

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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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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

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