To the poetry skeptics, what have you got to lose?

READ REVIEW

WHY POETRY

Helping readers overcome their ambivalence about poetry.

As a fine poet in his own right and editor at large at the independent poetry press Wave Books as well as the poetry page editor at the New York Times Magazine, Zapruder (English/St. Mary’s Coll.; Sun Bear, 2014, etc.) is highly qualified to take on the age-old question. The author takes a personal approach, mixing memoir, analysis, and argument. As a high school senior in 1985, he dreaded the poetry unit. He picked W.H. Auden’s “Musée des Beaux Arts” to analyze. After reading the opening lines, “something just clicked,” and he understood “that there was something only poetry could do.” After graduate work in Russian language and literature, Zapruder decided to pursue a degree in creative writing and never looked back. Now, he wants to share his love and knowledge of poetry. Even if readers won’t feel like the “top[s] of [their] head[s] were taken off,” as Emily Dickinson described it, Zapruder hopes to show how “poetry creates the poetic state of mind in a reader” through a poem’s form, its leaps of association, and how it plays with the nature of language itself. He first guides readers through literal readings of three poems to demonstrate how to read a poem and dig down into its core to freely enjoy the poem for what it is. Zapruder’s writing is accessible, easygoing, and welcoming, as if he’s sitting right there talking us through the poems. Throughout, he uses numerous poems to clearly explain how each achieves something unique. His discussion of the enigma of line breaks is first-rate. He writes about how he fell in love with W.S. Merwin’s dark and often surreal collection The Lice (1967) and how a Frank O’Hara poem, “A True Account of Talking to the Sun at Fire Island,” now helps him “in this time of crisis, and beyond.”

To the poetry skeptics, what have you got to lose?

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-234307-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Ecco/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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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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