A wide-ranging, highly positive assessment of the El Sistema movement, serving as both inspiration and manual for would-be...

PLAYING FOR THEIR LIVES

THE GLOBAL EL SISTEMA MOVEMENT FOR SOCIAL CHANGE THROUGH MUSIC

In this follow-up to Tunstall’s Changing Lives (2011), which examined the growth of El Sistema in Venezuela, the authors look at the expansion of this artistic-social project around the world.

Activists and artists Tunstall and Booth traveled to 25 countries interviewing directors, teachers, students, and parents involved in more than 100 El Sistema–inspired musical and educational programs to understand how the project’s principles are working in diverse environments “from Kabul to Rio, from Bethlehem to Soweto, from Manila to Manhattan.” Acknowledging that research is not yet available to provide sufficient hard data about the program’s value, the authors give their own assessment of El Sistema’s impact, looking at its challenges and struggles as well as its successes. From its beginnings some 40 years ago in Venezuela, it reached out to children of poverty; in Europe today, it reaches out to children damaged by ethnic segregation and prejudice. The organization’s goal is to create not just musicians, but responsible citizens, and to that end, El Sistema tries to provide children of all skill levels with a musical community where they develop self-discipline, confidence, and cooperative skills. The book contains three main parts: the first is an explanation of what El Sistema is, how it started, and how it has spread; the second is a close look at each of its six core principles; the third is an overview of how it operates in different cultures, the various ways it is funded, and the networking that links its far-flung programs. Profiles and personal stories abound, and material that did not fit into the narrative flow appears throughout in boxed inserts, which is occasionally somewhat unwieldy. Appendices provide specific information on how one can become involved and lend the movement support.

A wide-ranging, highly positive assessment of the El Sistema movement, serving as both inspiration and manual for would-be social activists.

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-393-24564-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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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

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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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