Positive, powerful insights about love, spirituality, the universe, and Mother Earth.

The Great Mother Bible

OR, I'D RATHER BE GARDENING....

A nature mystic shares her latest series of engaging conversations with Mother Earth in this spiritual guide.

In November 2013, Cromwell (Messages From Mother…Earth Mother, 2012, etc.) received “distinct instructions” from “Mother,” the sacred being featured in her previous book, to put off her move to Washington, stay put in Maryland, and write a “Bible.” The result is this record of conversations that took place between Cromwell and Mother from January to July 2014. In the introductory chapter, “Surrender, Listen and Show Up,” Cromwell reviews her background as a nature mystic, which includes communing with Native American guides, beating a lymphoma diagnosis through alternative healing, and working as a garden designer. Then, within 37 other dated chapters showcasing the conversations that Cromwell recounts, Mother reflects on a range of topics—the value of the “Christ Consciousness” (Mother, according to the author, can “amplify it exponentially and help heal so many more animals, humans, ecosystems and more with this love energy you are directing into me”), aliens on Earth (who have good intentions, generally, and a greater understanding of the universe, although some have caused damage, including suppressing women’s power), and more. Cromwell herself tees up, echoes, or even builds on Mother’s remarks while revealing her love of chocolate, struggles with a fluctuating romance, and a reconciliation of sorts with her apparently troubled Roman Catholic childhood (with Mother noting that the Virgin Mary is indeed a female divine iteration). The narrative concludes with Mother’s rally to “Know that our Quantum Divine Love is always here for you to tap into. Always. We love you.” An embracing maternal universe is a wonderful prospect, and Cromwell brings a pleasing blend of humor and sincerity to her latest spiritual work. The chatty asides are largely amusing, with Mother and Cromwell even bantering about the latter being gassy. This gardener author would have benefited from pruning her narrative a bit, however, since the sprawling book covers subjects ranging from nuclear testing to tree spirits, ice storms, and sustainability. Still, there is plenty of dip-in appeal to this work, an enjoyable female version of Neale Donald Walsch’s Conversations with God.

Positive, powerful insights about love, spirituality, the universe, and Mother Earth.

Pub Date: April 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9717032-6-1

Page Count: 298

Publisher: Pamoon Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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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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SLEEPERS

An extraordinary true tale of torment, retribution, and loyalty that's irresistibly readable in spite of its intrusively melodramatic prose. Starting out with calculated, movie-ready anecdotes about his boyhood gang, Carcaterra's memoir takes a hairpin turn into horror and then changes tack once more to relate grippingly what must be one of the most outrageous confidence schemes ever perpetrated. Growing up in New York's Hell's Kitchen in the 1960s, former New York Daily News reporter Carcaterra (A Safe Place, 1993) had three close friends with whom he played stickball, bedeviled nuns, and ran errands for the neighborhood Mob boss. All this is recalled through a dripping mist of nostalgia; the streetcorner banter is as stilted and coy as a late Bowery Boys film. But a third of the way in, the story suddenly takes off: In 1967 the four friends seriously injured a man when they more or less unintentionally rolled a hot-dog cart down the steps of a subway entrance. The boys, aged 11 to 14, were packed off to an upstate New York reformatory so brutal it makes Sing Sing sound like Sunnybrook Farm. The guards continually raped and beat them, at one point tossing all of them into solitary confinement, where rats gnawed at their wounds and the menu consisted of oatmeal soaked in urine. Two of Carcaterra's friends were dehumanized by their year upstate, eventually becoming prominent gangsters. In 1980, they happened upon the former guard who had been their principal torturer and shot him dead. The book's stunning denouement concerns the successful plot devised by the author and his third friend, now a Manhattan assistant DA, to free the two killers and to exact revenge against the remaining ex-guards who had scarred their lives so irrevocably. Carcaterra has run a moral and emotional gauntlet, and the resulting book, despite its flaws, is disturbing and hard to forget. (Film rights to Propaganda; author tour)

Pub Date: July 10, 1995

ISBN: 0-345-39606-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1995

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