The poems in this volume do indeed reflect a national history, messy and complex, strident and joyful in the most tragic of...

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IRISH POETRY

AN INTERPRETIVE ANTHOLOGY FROM BEFORE SWIFT TO YEATS AND AFTER

Mc Cormack, a professor of literary history at the University of London, has woven together a fascinating and problematic anthology. The subtitle, tailored to the American edition, is something of a non sequitur, since the selection includes only one poet before Swift, but 28 after Yeats. “Interpretive” refers to Mc Cormack’s goal, as he states it in the introduction, of demonstrating “how Irish literature can be read, not just as a national history, but also as a less orderly and more unexpected series of assaults, dialogues, embraces, exchanges, and propositions.” The selections are often avowedly sectarian and provocative, but the virtual absence of biographical information or critical notes—crucial for any American edition of such a politically oriented book—obscures the poems’ sometimes surprising relationships. Also confusing is the anthology’s inconsistent approach to its treatment of poems in Gaelic, some presented in English with the original Gaelic, others exclusively in English, and one just in Gaelic. One may always complain too about omissions—Paul Muldoon and Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill spring to mind—but, as a whole, Mc Cormack’s painstaking selection does justice to the panoply of Irish poets, from the bardic pronouncements of Aodhagán Ó Rathaille to the slyly conventional sonnets of Lady Gregory to poems by moderns like Seamus Heaney, Eavan Boland, and Derek Mahon. The inclusions from Yeats and Joyce highlight a political engagement that frequently goes unnoticed in selections of their work. Perhaps most satisfying is the generous sampling of marvelous long poems like Brian Merriman’s Midnight Court (translated by Frank O’Connor), Austin Clarke’s Orphide, and Patrick Kavanagh’s Great Hunger—alongside Oscar Wilde’s more famous Ballad of Reading Gaol.

The poems in this volume do indeed reflect a national history, messy and complex, strident and joyful in the most tragic of circumstances.

Pub Date: May 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-8147-5628-X

Page Count: 355

Publisher: New York Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2000

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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Shalvis’ latest retains her spark and sizzle.

ALMOST JUST FRIENDS

Piper Manning is determined to sell her family’s property so she can leave her hometown behind, but when her siblings come back with life-changing secrets and her sexy neighbor begins to feel like “The One,” she might have to redo her to-do list.

As children, Piper and her younger siblings, Gavin and Winnie, were sent to live with their grandparents in Wildstone, California, from the Congo after one of Gavin’s friends was killed. Their parents were supposed to meet them later but never made it. Piper wound up being more of a parent than her grandparents, though: “In the end, Piper had done all the raising. It’d taken forever, but now, finally, her brother and sister were off living their own lives.” Piper, the queen of the bullet journal, plans to fix up the family’s lakeside property her grandparents left the three siblings when they died. Selling it will enable her to study to be a physician’s assistant as she’s always wanted. However, just as the goal seems in sight, Gavin and Winnie come home, ostensibly for Piper’s 30th birthday, and then never leave. Turns out, Piper’s brother and sister have recently managed to get into a couple buckets of trouble, and they need some time to reevaluate their options. They aren’t willing to share their problems with Piper, though they’ve been completely open with each other. And Winnie, who’s pregnant, has been very open with Piper’s neighbor Emmitt Reid and his visiting son, Camden, since the baby’s father is Cam’s younger brother, Rowan, who died a few months earlier in a car accident. Everyone has issues to navigate, made more complicated by Gavin and Winnie’s swearing Cam to secrecy just as he and Piper try—and fail—to ignore their attraction to each other. Shalvis keeps the physical and emotional tension high, though the siblings’ refusal to share with Piper becomes tedious and starts to feel childish.

Shalvis’ latest retains her spark and sizzle.

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296139-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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