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Memorable, if sometimes inflated, prose on poems, poetry, and the poet by the Pulitzer Prize—winner. Semi-famous Strand made his mark with a string of eight poetry collections before Blizzard Of One (1998), a MacArthur Fellowship, a stint as Poet Laureate, and a teaching post at the University of Chicago. As a painterly poet like John Ashbery, Strand notes poetry’s immortal edge over the fleeting, fading, and inevitably historic quality of photography. Like Wallace Stevens (who, like Ashbery, is treated here), Strand addresses an old photo of his mother 58 years after it was taken and declares: “It is I, it is the future, experiencing a terrible ineradicable exclusion.” Strand does a detailed yet impassioned job of teaching poetry. Readers will learn to appreciate the craft, imagery, and mood of a poem by Archibald MacLeish that might seem inaccessible. Strand’s sensitive explication and his observation that “a poem is a place where the conditions of beyondness and withinness are made palpable” will make them forgive his obscure praise of the poem’s “sad crepuscular beauty.” Strand is equally comfortable analyzing familiar poems like Edwin Arlington Robinson’s —Richard Cory.— He identifies poetry as the enigmatic, questioning “enemy” in our information age whose torrential flow of data—just the facts, please—provides the illusion of certainty in an uncertain world. As an antidote to the deceptive verities of newspapers and e-mails, Strand offers poetic skill and personality, poetic modes like narrative, lyric, and translation, and poets from Virgil to Joseph Brodsky. Readers who survive Strand’s imaginative but self-important alphabetical list of his artistic influences and don’t mind learning from the self-conscious laureate that of all bodies of water he prefers lakes, “where one can kneel at the edge, look down and see oneself,” will be most entertained and enlightened by this weighty little book. A spring afternoon in the dead of February for fans of Strand and modern poetry.

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2000

ISBN: 0-375-40911-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1999

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

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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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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