As these passionate essays attest, Hofmann cares deeply: about writing, art and the creative possibilities of criticism.

WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?

SELECTED ESSAYS

A noted critic celebrates the arts.

In this vibrant collection of previously published essays, poet, critic and translator Hofmann (Poetry and Translation/Univ. of Florida; Selected Poems, 2009, etc.) elevates criticism to an art. He amply fulfills his aim to “investigate and animate” his subjects, “make them resonate, play with and in and over them….” Many of those subjects are poets, including Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell, Ted Hughes, Seamus Heaney, Basil Bunting and John Berryman. But Hofmann also extends his “noticings” to painter Max Beckmann, writer and artist Kurt Schwitters, and Austrian playwrights Arthur Schnitzler and Thomas Bernhard. He considers Günter Grass’ belated admission of SS membership (“The horrible suspicion arises that Grass’ deepest project here is the destruction of meaning. Not so much ‘peeling the onion’ as ‘applying the whitewash’ ”). Hofmann also reflects on Antonioni’s movie The Passenger, “a mystery or a mystification” that he found especially powerful. Among the most luminous essays are those responding to poets and their work. The Bishop-Lowell correspondence, writes Hofmann, reads like “an epistolary novel” that reveals “an ideally balanced, ideally complex account of a friendship, a race, a decades-long conspiracy, a dance (say, a tango?).” Bishop emerges as the more sympathetic of the two, offering “arresting and beautiful observations” and genuine interest in her friend; Lowell, on the other hand, “seems to endow even people quite close to him…with very little reality.” An admiring essay on Bishop notes her reticence to engage in the confessional poetry in which Lowell indulged, but an equally admiring essay on Lowell calls him “heroic.” “To say that anyone who cares about poetry should read Lowell is not enough….Anyone who cares about writing, or about art, or about life, should read Lowell.”

As these passionate essays attest, Hofmann cares deeply: about writing, art and the creative possibilities of criticism.

Pub Date: Dec. 2, 2014

ISBN: 978-0374259969

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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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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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

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