THE WEATHER OF WORDS

POETIC INVENTION

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 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1999

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more