As contemporary as "Sonic Boom" (John Updike) and the Beatles ("Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," "She's Leaving Home"), this selection of modern poetry is comparable in quality and appeal (if not in appearance) to A Gift of Watermelon fickle. Stages in the human life cycle are the basis for grouping: the Family, Childhood, Isolation, Identity, etc.—twelve sections altogether. Besides poets frequently anthologized (cummings, Hughes, Frost, Sandburg) and poets included in several recent collections (Philip Booth, Leonard Cohen, James Dickey, Denise Levertov, Karl Shapiro, William Stafford), folk singers Tom Paxton and Woody Guthrie are represented. From Wolcott Gibbs' four-year-old son comes a captivating lyric: "He will just do nothing at all./ He will just sit there in the noon-day sun./ And when they speak to him;—/ he will not answer them/ because he does not wish to/ And when they tell him to eat his dinner/ he will just laugh at them. . . ." From the Dissent section comes Donald Hall's bitter observation: "I shot my friend to save my country's life,/ . . . The State (I learned too late) does not exist;/ Man lives by love, and not by metaphor." LeRoi Jones in the group of Love poems has a left-handed compliment "For Hettie": "My wife is left-handed,/ Which implies a fierce de-/ termination. A complete other/ worldliness. IT'S WEIRD BABY." A sound choice—you'll hear vibrations.

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 1970

ISBN: 0440981719

Page Count: 174

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1970

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Paulsen recalls personal experiences that he incorporated into Hatchet (1987) and its three sequels, from savage attacks by moose and mosquitoes to watching helplessly as a heart-attack victim dies. As usual, his real adventures are every bit as vivid and hair-raising as those in his fiction, and he relates them with relish—discoursing on “The Fine Art of Wilderness Nutrition,” for instance: “Something that you would never consider eating, something completely repulsive and ugly and disgusting, something so gross it would make you vomit just looking at it, becomes absolutely delicious if you’re starving.” Specific examples follow, to prove that he knows whereof he writes. The author adds incidents from his Iditarod races, describes how he made, then learned to hunt with, bow and arrow, then closes with methods of cooking outdoors sans pots or pans. It’s a patchwork, but an entertaining one, and as likely to win him new fans as to answer questions from his old ones. (Autobiography. 10-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-385-32650-5

Page Count: 150

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2000

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Possibly the concision and flavor will increase the book's attractiveness to those who need it most, and the list of sources...


From the man who is usually "On the Other Side of the Tracks," a judicious selection of quotations from runaways and emancipated men revealing the texture of the slave experience.

This is not, like Meltzer's In Their Own Words, a history, but the book's structure does approximate chronological impressions: African capture and ocean voyage, the auction block, plantation life with its codes of behavior, responses to emancipation and—briefly—the letdown thereafter. Most of the quotations come from the (edited) records of 19th century abolitionist societies or the Federal Writers' Project interviews of the 1930's so there are few statements from the ones who got away (e.g. Douglass); Lester does excerpt from Josiah Henson and others who wrote autobiographies but concentrates on equally eloquent unknowns, often in their own dialects (depending on the interviewer). The passages are short, some no more than a sentence ("Now that slavery is over, I don't want to be in nary 'nother slavery, and if nary 'nother come up, I wouldn't stay here"), supplementing the editor's pointed commentary. Several themes emerge: the fading of African memories, antagonism between house and field, a subculture of two-faced intelligence, attempts at organized rebellion, emotional release in music.

Possibly the concision and flavor will increase the book's attractiveness to those who need it most, and the list of sources is valuable for further study.

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 1968

ISBN: 978-0-14-131001-5

Page Count: 180

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1968

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