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The Best of the Best American Poetry: 1988-1997 (American Poetry Series)
The Best of the Best American Poetry: 1988-1997 (American Poetry Series)
von David Lehman
  Taschenbuch

5.0 von 5 Sternen An All-American roster of the best poems of the decade!, 4. Mai 1998
The process is simple: each year, you have a prominent poet (a practitioner of the art whose ear is ostensibly close to the ground of the craft) select 75 of the best poems from the hundreds published in magazines that year. Then you make this selection available in a single volume which provides a broad portrait of the current state of the art of poetry in America.

For a decade, this is how it's been done, and John Ashberry, Donald Hall, Jorie Graham, Mark Strand, Charles Simic, Louise Gluck, A.R. Ammons, Richard Howard, Adrienne Rich, and James Tate have each had a hand in fashioning The Best American Poetry anthologies that are the result, resulting in excellent collections whose range and quality have made the series ever more popular with each passing year.

Now, the critic Harold Bloom has taken the 10 resulting volumes and selected the 75 best poems out of the bunch, making a literal Best of the Best American Poetry anthology that is, at the very least, provocative.

Bloom's introductory essay, in which he takes no prisoners in his bombastic critique of the state of American poetry, is worth the price of the book alone. Even if you agree with Bloom's conclusions about what's wrong with how poetry is treated nowadays, his skewering of academia (and even of Adrienne Rich, who served as editor for 1996) is guaranteed to set your blood aboil. If, as Shelley wrote, poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world, then Bloom has set himself up as Chief Justice. And it turns out that this outspoken critic happens to be a hangin' judge!

As if this weren't enough, then there are the poems themselves: they are all bard-inspiringly good. All the big guns are present (with the exception of Ms. Rich), as well as some less-famous artisans, even including Carolyn Creedon, who is "basically a waitress who goes to school" and whose poem, "litany," is full of "sweaty immediacy" and heartbreaking insight. Talk about a democratic selection!

Other standou! t selections include John Ashberry's "Myrtle," a poem I can't seem to stop thinking about; Lucie Brock-Broido's "Inevitably, She Declined," a compressed and vivid evocation of human history; Anthony Hecht's virtuousic "Prospects"; and Molly Peacock's "Have You Ever Faked an Orgasm?," a cycle which manages to be hilarious, moving, and technically-brilliant all at once.

This is a volume that passes the only real test of literary worth: it rewards re-reading. I urge you to begin.


The Cement Garden (Vintage International)
The Cement Garden (Vintage International)
von Ian McEwan
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 13,64

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5.0 von 5 Sternen It's a 1st-person, urban, erotic Lord of the Flies!, 7. April 1998
"I did not kill my father," this slim novel begins, "but I sometimes felt I had helped him on his way." Soon the mother is dead as well, and four children are left to fend for themselves in a secluded house in a dying part of the city.
There's Julie, the eldest, a ripe & willful beauty who's almost a woman; there's Jack, the narrator, a boy bewildered by his growing body & appetites; there's Sue, bookish & ever-observant; and then there's Tom, the baby of the family, who actually seems to get younger, regressing as the days go by. These four form an uneasy family, slowly learning to be self-sufficient in this strangely apocalyptic setting.
But an intruder in the form of Julie's new boyfriend threatens their fragile stasis by asking too many questions. How long have the four of them been alone? And just what is buried under the crumbling pile of cement in the basement?
This book has been mistakenly marketed as a horror novel; it's horrific, sure, but not as horrible as the pulp that defines the genre. What makes it particularly good is its characters, the children who are both recognizably sympathetic and exotically extraordinary.
Ian McEwan has created a taut & provocative thriller written in pitch-perfect and stripped-down prose. Beyond being a macabre morality tale, The Cement Garden is a psychological-suspense yarn, a perceptive portrayal of adolescence that will keep you riveted up to the final, climactic scene in an upstairs bedroom.


The Thought Gang
The Thought Gang
von Tibor Fischer
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 20,95

5.0 von 5 Sternen Funny & Frantic Romps thru Felonies & Philosophies in France, 6. April 1998
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Thought Gang (Taschenbuch)
Middle-aged layabout Eddie Coffin wakes up naked & groggy in an apartment full of child-pornography just as the police break in. If you ever find yourself in similar circumstances, Eddie advises "try to be good-humoured and polite" because "it makes the police fret about having got something wrong."
So begins this hilarious tale of a tenured philosopher at Cambridge who absconds with departmental funds to France, where he meets up with a deranged(?) one-armed robber named Hubert, a psychopath with "a gluttony for erudition." Soon the two of them are on an increasingly improbable crime-spree, rifling bank-vaults & schools of thought with equal aplomb.
As the loot mounts and the police circle ever closer, Eddie & Hubert decide to make one last, climactic heist, to put the capper on their caper career and to put their philosophical conclusions (which include contributions from the Ancient Greeks to Nietzche) to the ultimate practical test.
Tibor Fischer has created a side-splitting narrative that is as full of deep intelligence as it is full of belly-rending guffaws. This is a novel whose pace puts the average potboiler to shame and whose implications stretch the envelope for literary fiction. Eddie & Hubert are characters you will love to hate and vice-versa. If you have an appetite for Felony and Philosophy, then this book is a must-read, a re-read, and a keeper.


100 Poems by 100 Poets: An Anthology
100 Poems by 100 Poets: An Anthology
von Harold Pinter
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 13,71

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Provocative poetry picks by England's pre-eminent playwright, 28. März 1998
To kill time on a long trip, playwright Harold Pinter & 2 friends set themselves this task: pick the 100 most representative poems written in English. They excluded living poets in order to choose from a poet's whole corpus and they agreed to list the poems in alphabetical order by author.
The result: an anthology that ranges from the 13th-century to the present, from the formal love poems of John Skelton to the lacerating confessions of Sylvia Plath. One might not agree with some of Pinter's choices, but they comprise an interesting snapshot of several centuries of the art.
As idiosyncratic as this anthology is, it is also a testament to the broad tastes and deep appreciations of its editors. Could you have done better?
Start from the beginning and read through to the end, or dip into it randomly, this anthology is a small chest of treasures. Carry it in your pocket or assign it to your class, you won't regret the purchase of this book.


The Mezzanine (Vintage Contemporaries)
The Mezzanine (Vintage Contemporaries)
von Nicholson Baker
  Taschenbuch

5.0 von 5 Sternen Baker smilingly builds a world out of an escalator ride., 8. September 1997
In this short, funny, and thoughtful novel, Baker portrays a fully-examined life in a single escalator ride.

As the narrator rides up from the ground-floor to the mezzanine where his office is, his thoughts seem to free-associate over issues & incidents, each stylishly-rendered in Baker's precise & wondrous prose.

But, as wide-ranging as the narrator's thought-flow is, the book is actually a tightly-controlled (even contrived) construction that never fails to delight. (After all, how long can one escalator-ride be?)

A genius at squeezing sensuous prose from the smallest detail, Baker is a brilliant stylist and thinker who has created a miniature masterpiece, a small book with a lot on its mind.


Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (An Evergreen book)
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (An Evergreen book)
von Tom Stoppard
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 15,10

5.0 von 5 Sternen A hilarious send-up of dramatic convention & deep thought., 3. September 1997
Ever wonder whether you were the hero of your life or just a minor character in someone else's?
Stoppard explores this question brilliantly in this revisiting of Shakespeare's Hamlet, this time seen through the eyes of two bit-players in that great drama: Rosencrantz & Guildenstern, hapless drifters caught in a whirl of fate and trying to figure out their place in the universe.
With dialogue that cracks like a whip and a truly dizzying plot, we follow these two curious men attempt to make sense of the strange dramatic world into which they've been thrust. As this play weaves into & back out of Shakespeare's original, we are treated to a dazzling display of slapstick existentialism.
Stoppard has created a contemporary classic that is every bit as entertaining as it is disturbing


Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (An Evergreen book)
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (An Evergreen book)
von Tom Stoppard
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 15,10

5.0 von 5 Sternen A hilarious send-up of dramatic convention & deep thought., 3. September 1997
Ever wonder whether you were the hero of your life or just a minor character in someone else's?
Stoppard explores this premise brilliantly in this revisiting of Shakespeare's Hamlet, this time seen through the eyes of two bit-players in that great drama: Rosencrantz & Guildenstern, hapless drifters caught in a whirl of fate and trying to figure out their place in the universe.
With dialogue that cracks like a whip and a truly dizzying plot, we follow these two curious men attempt to make sense of the strange dramatic world into which they've been thrust. As this play weaves into & back out of Shakespeare's original, we are treated to a dazzling display of slapstick existentialism.
Stoppard has created a contemporary classic that is every bit as entertaining as it is disturbing


Success (Vintage International)
Success (Vintage International)
von Martin Amis
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 14,24

5.0 von 5 Sternen A bitterly-funny tale of 2 rivals for Fortune's Hand., 3. September 1997
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Success (Vintage International) (Taschenbuch)
Gregory Riding is perfect: rich, handsome, sophisticated, leading a storybook life of leisure, love, and taste. His foster brother Terry Service is the opposite: unattractive, dull, frustrated, stuck in a horrific dead-end job. But what begins as a clear contrast soon twists as Fortune's Wheel begins her inevitable spin: who will end up a Success? Amis writes in a deliciously funny pyrotechnic style and he is a master of the ironic plot twist that will leave you shaking your head and chuckling, even as you realize with horror just what you're laughing at. This is a hilarious parable by a master of form


Glengarry Glen Ross: A Play (Mamet, David)
Glengarry Glen Ross: A Play (Mamet, David)
von David Mamet
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 10,90

5.0 von 5 Sternen Dark comedic noir set in a cutthroat real-estate office., 3. September 1997
An office full of small-time real-estate hustlers is the setting of Mamet's blackly-humorous Pulitzer Prize-winning play. Competing against each other for their very jobs while trying to unite against a hostile boss, these characters are brutal Willy Lomans trapped in a world where lying is a virtue and where cruelty is a strength. Yet they are also human beings drawn to each other for support and companionship. When a robbery is committed in their midst, tensions boil over as each man tries to save himself and still make a buck. Mamet has written a brutally-hilarious satire of capitalism and machismo that also manages to be a compassionate portrayal of men caught in inhuman circumstances. This one will make you laugh even as it makes you think


Oleanna: A Play (Vintage Original)
Oleanna: A Play (Vintage Original)
von David Mamet
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 12,95

1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Mamet's taut tale of political correctness gone awry., 3. September 1997
It begins innocently: a distracted male professor meets with a female student to discuss her grade. But a series of verbal missteps sends both characters into a conflict neither has asked for. Or have they? Mamet creates a twisting performance where predator and prey shift in this brilliant explosion of all our assumptions regarding sexual politics and the risks of communication. This is a thriller that will both amaze and trouble you


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