An exemplary edition offering a textured portrait of an iconic poet.




Six years of hope and joy end with a spiraling descent to suicide.

Journals, soul-baring poems, autobiographical fiction, and several biographies and critical studies have made the trajectory and struggles of Sylvia Plath’s (1932-1963) life familiar. Nevertheless, the second volume of her correspondence, edited, annotated, and introduced by Plath scholars Steinberg and Kukil, offers new revelations: unabridged letters to her mother and letters to the psychiatrist who treated Plath in the U.S. until 1959 and by letter after Plath settled in England. In an exceptionally sensitive foreword, Plath’s daughter writes of her stunned reaction when these intimate letters came to light in 2016, her trepidation about reading them, and the insights they gave her about her parents’ intense, almost claustrophobic love and the dramatic end of their marriage. It was her generous and well-considered decision to allow them into this volume. In hundreds of letters to her mother, Plath ebulliently and insistently conveys her happiness about writing, motherhood, and—until she discovers Hughes’ affair—her marriage. She portrays Hughes as nothing less than an Adonis: “a kind, handsome, wonderful person”; virile and attractive; a genius who, without a doubt, will achieve greatness as a poet. He tenderly nurses her through colds, flu, and a miscarriage and happily plays with his daughter in the mornings so that Plath can write. Even when struggling financially, even when they both try to write in a cramped two-room apartment, Plath betrays no chink in the gleaming surface of their marriage. In 1959, though, when both are in residence at Yaddo, she admits, “I am so happy we can work apart, for that is what we’ve really needed.” Correspondents include Plath’s brother; Hughes’ parents (to whom she writes ingratiating encomiums about their son) and his overbearing sister; friends, fellow poets, and assorted relatives; and many editors who publish her work. Although worries and anxiety occasionally creep in, not until the end does she become overwhelmed with frustration, anger, and a desperate fear of madness.

An exemplary edition offering a textured portrait of an iconic poet.

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-274058-8

Page Count: 1088

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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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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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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