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1. The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography
2. Apollinaire: Poet Among the Painters
3. Preacher, Prophet, Poet: A Biography
4. Poet of the Appetites: The Lives
5. American Writers for Children
6. Madder Music, Stronger Wine: The
7. W. B. Yeats: A Life Volume II:
8. Siegfried Sassoon: The Making
9. T. S. Eliot - Life and Times of
10. Book, the Ring and the Poet: Biography
11. Lorenz Hart: A Poet on Broadway
12. W. H. Auden: The Life of a Poet
13. Jose Marti: Cuban Patriot and
14. African-American Poets (Collective
15. Tennyson: Poet and Prophet
16. Shakespeare and His Birthplace:
17. Shakspeare and His Times: Including
18. To Shirk No Idleness: A Critical
19. Popular Poetic Pearls, and Biographies
20. Poets, Poems, and Rhymes of East

1. The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano (Pura Belpre Medal Book Author (Awards))
by Margarita Engle
Hardcover: 192 Pages (2006-04-04)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$5.74
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0805077065
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

A lyrical biography of a Cuban slave who escaped to become a celebrated poet.

Born into the household of a wealthy slave owner in Cuba in 1797, Juan Francisco Manzano spent his early years by the side of a woman who made him call her Mama, even though he had a mama of his own. Denied an education, young Juan still showed an exceptional talent for poetry. His verses reflect the beauty of his world, but they also expose its hideous cruelty.

Powerful, haunting poems and breathtaking illustrations create a portrait of a life in which even the pain of slavery could not extinguish the capacity for hope.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars Story of Courage
The Poet Slave of Cuba by Margarita Engle is a touching young adult novel that is written in verse. The story of the young poet slave is definitely not a happy one; but the ending will leave you feeling inspired to cherish the life you have. The novel is based on a true story about the life of Juan Francisco Manzano. Juan is a young man who was born into slavery in the late 1700's. He was blessed with a rare intelligence for the arts, especially for poetry. While young he could not read, but he could memorize beautiful sonnets, plays, verses and sermons with ease and then recite them with perfection. The upper class loved him, and his owners forced him to recite at parties all around, all the while treating him worse than the dirt they trod on. Although Juan had great parents who gave everything to have him free, all they gave was disregarded by the upper class and he was beat and tortured to the amusement of those that had money and power

This book had a way of putting my life into prospective more than any other book that I have read. The book is written in many different voices.As the reader hops from character to character and their point of view about the young Juan and his gift, they will see a cruelty in this world unlike any other. Yet on the other hand they will see courage and an unyielding love within the family of this young man. The art in this book is great too. The expressions on the faces of the characters, and the symbols of death and sadness were explicitly shown by the illustrator. Anyone that enjoys literature about other cultures must read this book. Anyone that feels like they were dealt a tough lot in life should read this book. If you need help persevering trials in life, look to Juan as an example of faith and hope and read this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Transcending Harsh Realities
At the same time that many African-Americans were suffering in slavery in the United States, countless Cubans were enduring a similar fate in their own country.Juan Francisco Manzano was born into a family of Cuban slaves in 1797.He served two mistresses (the second of whom was self-centered, cruel, and vindictive) until he escaped as a teenager.Even as a young boy, Juan possessed an amazing gift for remembering and reciting poetry, which propelled him into the performing spotlight under his first mistress Doña Beatriz.When his first mistress died and he became subject to the mentally unstable La Marquesa de Prado Ameno, his incredible talent for verse as well as his passion for life, learning, and self-expression became both a curse and an escape for Juan.He clung to the poems he had internalized as well as his own creations as he endured confinement and torturous abuse as a slave.

Margarita Engle, winner of the Pura Belpré Award and the Junior Library Guild Selection Editor's Choice for The Poet Slave of Cuba, recounts the heartrending biography of Juan's childhood and teenage years as a slave.Respectfully echoing Juan Manzano's poetic voice by writing in verse herself, Engle chronicles Juan's story through multiple voices.Even with the conciseness that poetry demands, Margarita Engle captures the individual personalities of the various characters of this story--Juan, Maria del Pilar (Juan's mother), Toribio (Juan's father), Doña Beatriz (his first mistress), La Marquesa de Prado Ameno (his second mistress), Don Nicolas (La Marquesa's son), and the Overseer.Engle illuminates Juan's passion for knowledge, his quiet patience, as well as his ferocious tenacity.She underscores the icy, cruel selfishness of La Marquesa De Prado Ameno.Maria del Pilar's steadfast compassion spills out of the voice Engle pens for her.Even the Overseer's internal torment over being the instrument of torture for La Marquesa seeps through his limited lines.

As a Cuban-American author with a background in botany and agronomy, Margarita Engle not only tells an inspirational story of suffering and survival, but she also grafts in glimpses of the island setting, the agriculture backdrop, and the cultural hierarchy of nineteenth century Cuba.Sean Qualls' intermittent illustrations in shades of black, grey, and white create an effective spotlight for scenes in Engle's verse.

Although Engle describes Juan's cruel punishment, this book would be completely suitable for middle- or high school age students.In fact, Engle's book contains very little blood, gore, or overly-explicit material.It is the brutality, mercilessness, and inhumanity of the slaves' punishments that disturb the readers' unaccustomed minds.Engle's book does not gloss over the inhumane treatment of Cuban slaves in the 19th century, yet it provides a story of hope and transcending harsh realities.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fabulous read
You learn about the life of this child and experience his triumph over adversity.The book makes you want to read the child's original words even though they are in Spanish.

5-0 out of 5 stars HI MR. COSBY
How would you feel if your former master, who had loved you and cared for you like you were her own child, had said that once she died, you and your family would be free. Happy, right? Well what if no one paid any attention and you were sold to another master who punishes you for crimes you didn't commit?
That is the dilemma Juan Fransisco Manzano faces when his former owner, who took him to parties and had him wow her guest with his uncanny ability to recite poems and verses from the bible. At his baptism, Dona Beatriz, his former owner, declares that once she dies, he and his family will be free, for the price of 300 pesos, and any new-born babies will be born free. But once Dona Beatriz dies, Juan's family discovers they don't have enough money to buy Juan's freedom. So he is sold to La Marquesa De Prado Amendo, whose son, Don Nicolas, takes a liking to Juan, and befriends him. But La Marquesa frequently and brutally punishes Juan for sneaking peaks at her books. But she is grateful enough to let Juan watch her sons take art classes, and Don Nicholas gives Juan some parchment and a stub of crayon to draw with. Eventually, Don Nicholas helps give Juan the courage to run away, and Juan flees in search of his mother.
In really enjoyed this book for three reasons: the poetry, the character development, and the Spanish vocabulary sprinkled into the text.
The first reason I liked this book was in was written in free verse poetry form. This made the book very quick and easy to read, which made me like it more. It was also very unique, and was very well done.
The second reason I liked this book was the character development, mainly Juan. He grows up a lot in the book, from age eleven to age sixteen. But he also develops, by not abiding to La Marquesa's rules or caring about the consequences. He also learns that he doesn't need to keep sneakily buying pen and paper using the money he receives at parties. He can just store all the knowledge in his head.
And finally, I enjoyed the Spanish vocabulary sprinkled in. I take Spanish class on B days and found that the Spanish words were very useful. I also like how the author used in text definitions to explain to you what the word was.
In conclusion, I thought this was a fabulous book and would recommend it to someone looking for either a book written in poetry of a book with Spanish sprinkled into the text.

C. Davidson

5-0 out of 5 stars Soy Cuba
The verse novel is a tricky fickle thing.Though no one to the best of my knowledge has ever put down the rules that govern the creation of a verse novel, there are always a couple unwritten understandings.No verse novel should tell its tale through poetry when it would make more sense to tell it through prose.Also, just breaking up a bunch of sentences into lines doesn't mean you're writing poetry or anything.The ideal verse novel is one where it makes sense to write a story through poetry AND just happens to have an ear for beautiful language.Such is the case with Margaraita's, "The Poet Slave of Cuba".In the book it says that, "The life of Juan Francisco Manzano haunted her for years before she finally realized that to do justice to the Poet Slave's story, she needed to write it in verse".The result is an achingly beautiful and horrific story that deserves to be read by teens everywhere.

Born a slave in Cuba in 1797, Juan Francisco Manzano grew up the toast of his owner Dona Beatriz.His ability to memorize speeches, plays, and words of all sorts made him a kind of sought over pet to the Spanish aristocracy.Though she promised to grant him his freedom when she died and she allowed both his parents to buy their freedom, Juan Francisco remained a slave after Dona Beatriz's death and was handed over to the dangerously psychotic Marquesa de Prado Ameno.The Marquesa resents Juan from the moment he is put into her possession and every attempt he makes at reading or writing is put down with shocking violence.A biography told in poems, this book shows the worst of slavery's cruelties and the sheer will it takes to not only survive under such conditions but escape.

The text in the book alternates between different points of view on almost every page.In a sense, the villains have just as much of a say as the heroes.Juan, for his part, sometimes will have three pages in a row of thoughts, each with its own separate poem. Alongside this format are illustrations by Sean Qualls.Qualls has a style that usually doesn't do much for me.In this case, however, he's the perfect complement to Engle's tale.The white aristocracy with their blank eyes and sharp pointed teeth are positively horrific.These images magnify the storyline.Here, for example, are two ladders that lead suggestively against a wall.Now a shiny coin.Now a butterfly.They are rough unfinished drawings that show far better Juan's situation than any polished colored print could ever convey.

At first I was a little perturbed that for all the book's poetry and loveliness, I couldn't find any actual poetry by the real Juan Francisco Manzano.Then I reached the end of the title and in the back found that author Margarita Engle not only offers us a biography of the true Juan Francisco, but reprints his bibliographic details as well.

Now, there is a debate surrounding this book.It is not a debate that questions whether the story is told well or whether or not Engle gets her point across to the reader.It's more a question of audience.Though published by Henry Holt, Inc's young reader division, and not a specific teen imprint, there is little doubt in my mind that this is not exactly kiddie fare.It's repeatedly violent, often to extremes.There is more bloodshed, torture, screams, and pain in this book than you'll find in most children's literature.To put it plainly, this is the "Beloved", of kiddie lit.Which, when you think about it, doesn't make it very kid-friendly at all.Teens, on the other hand, will find much to appreciate here.Juan Francisco spends much of this book as a teen, after all.His thoughts and actions are not those of a young boy, but rather a man trapped in an untenable situation. As such, I'd steer this book clear of the shorter set and aim towards kids with some maturity.

You read about the main character's pain, and to some extent a kind of apathy has to take place or the story's too difficult to bear.As a reader, you actually find yourself wondering how a person could live under such grueling conditions without a hope of a reprieve and still want to live.And there is a moment in the book when someone says that good always triumphs over evil.That it is amazing that the devil even tries.Words like these and phrases of this sort have been turning about in my brain ever since I put, "The Poet Slave of Cuba" down.Engle's text has a kind of staying power that wordsmiths everywhere should envy.Envy and admire.

I guess I should point out that while, "The Poet Slave of Cuba" is well-written, smart, and beautiful, it is not a pleasant book to read.Teens who pick up this book should be informed right off the bat as to what the book consists of.Just the same, it's definitely one of the more honest treatises on slavery I've ever had the chance to read.Engle does a magnificent job with her subject.She does the man's memory proud. ... Read more

2. Apollinaire: Poet Among the Painters (Penguin Literary Biographies)
by Francis Steegmuller
 Paperback: 328 Pages (1986-07-01)
list price: US$7.95
Isbn: 0140580220
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3. Preacher, Prophet, Poet: A Biography of Wallace E. Chappell
by C. Emory Burton
Paperback: 136 Pages (2004-11-25)
list price: US$11.95 -- used & new: US$9.86
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1418494623
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A look at the life and thought of Wally Chappell serves many purposes.Here is a preacher who challenges others to make the most of their lives.A progressive who breaks the stereotype of the Ultra-conservative minister, a prophet who balances criticism of the social order with hope for the future, and a poet whose way with words lifts the spirits of those who hear him. Chappell's influence on other people is illustrated in the story of an ex-convict who credits Chappell with turning his life around. The book includes Chappell'[s views on theology, the church, and contemporary issues, contains two of his sermons and many of his poems. ... Read more

4. Poet of the Appetites: The Lives and Loves of M.F.K. Fisher
by Joan Reardon
Paperback: 528 Pages (2005-10-12)
list price: US$45.00 -- used & new: US$0.01
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0865476217
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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In more than thirty books, M.F.K. Fisher forever changed the way Americans understood not only the art of eating but the art of living. Whether considering the oyster or describing how to cook a wolf, she addressed the universal needs "for food and security and love." Readers were instantly drawn into her circle of husbands and lovers, artists and artisans; they felt they knew Fisher herself, whether they encountered her as a child with a fried-egg sandwich in her pocket, a young bride awakening to the glories of French food, or a seductress proffering the first peas of the season.

Oldest child, wife, mother, mistress, self-made career woman, trailblazing writer-Fisher served up each role with panache. But like many other master stylists, she was also a master mythologizer. To retell her story as it really happened, Joan Reardon has made the most of her access to Fisher, her family and friends, and her private papers. This multifaceted portrayal of the woman John Updike christened our "poet of the appetites" is no less memorable than the personae Fisher crafted for herself.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Cautionary Tale of Never Growing Up
I, too, was greatly impressed by MFK Fisher's books - they had everything -- an appreciation of food, wine, travel, writing, husbands, lovers, children and always money.Yet, my appreciation of these tales, I think, reveal a retarded adolescence on my part.

Reardon's biography is well written, very informative, and considerate.It is the work of someone who is grown, mature.MFK Fisher never grew up.And I think that's what is at the heart of some readers dislike for her.To blame the biographer for this is shooting the messenger.

It's clear from this biography that MFK Fisher's personality did not grow beyond the age of 16 or so.Her children were props to her romance of her life.It was beyond cruel not to reveal the father of her daughter. I think that Reardon had to deal with some bad feelings of her own about MFK -- the mystification that occurs when people we admire do not seem admirable at all.From there, how do we accept their work -- do we decide that the artist's life has nothing to do with the work?

The romance Fisher created of herself, the mirror she created in her work, should have been obvious to me as a reader.No one's life could be so fluently lived. Yet, I can also see that her theatrics must have been quite compelling, very enlivening...but not real.

There is a darkness to her character that Reardon describes but never actually states.So I end up seeing this biography as completely necessary because MFK Fisher is part of our culture.She inspired many imaginations -- culinary, literary, everyday.But it was all a romance... a dark romance of someone in love with her image -- an adolescent.

This is a first rate biography for its fairness, its scholarship, and its clear writing.

5-0 out of 5 stars Reardon captures the real MFK
Having read 10 of Fisher's books I was beginning to not like her all that much and then along comes Reardon's biography and I like MFK even less. Fisher was a talented writer but truly a narrcicist who sponged off her parents and hung out with others, mostly well to do and who were "artists and writers"; people who, for the most part, never really worked. What I found hardest to take was the fact that she never told her oldest daughter who her father was - even in MFK's dying days she refused Anna's request to tell her who this man was. I am afraid I will never read my remaining Fisher books - Too bad, I want to like her but it will be hard to forget the facts laid out by Reardon.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not Always Pretty
I enjoyed Joan Reardon's intimate biography of the food writer MFK Fisher quite a lot but the pleasures of reading it deepened into dispiriting reflections on how intrusive biography can be.Taking its title from an inane description of Fisher;s writing by John Updike, POET OF THE APPETITE peers almost literally into the abyss, the destruction and mixed feelings left behind by a talented, "play-acting" lady's sweep through life.Reardon details the events of Fisher's three marriages almost as though she'd been there, and she brings to life some long affairs as well.Before reading this book, I don't remember knowing that Fisher had often had to fight off members of her own sex, and occasionally she succumbed, bragging about it later.In contrast to the three dimensionality imparted to Fisher's male lovers, it is perhaps unfortunate that Reardon seems unwilling to portray the estimable Marietta Voorhees as anything other than a quarrelsome, needy, aged and ugly pest, whose function in Fisher's life was to whine and to fret about her mother.

Meanwhile a comparable affair with a man, her late in life hook up with Esuqire editor and Hemingway buddy Arbold Gingrich, a married man no less, is presented as kind of cute in that old-lovers Cocoon way.

Most distasteful is Reardon's prompt, efficient way of laying out the whole sad story of Anna Parrish, Fisher's younger daughter.After reading the facts of her life in this book, how could poor Anna ever raise her head high again?Reardon eviscerates her as a hedonistic hippie who let her toddler walk across a six lane highway unattended, while she was having a manic episode on a commune.I guess part of the point is that Fisher's karma finally caught up with her.

And what about the food industry, which drove Fisher to restless spasms of having to produce a new book every year even when she was dying, or trying to?Those late books are looking more and more grotesque, like the late De Koonings produced by "the Master" in the stages of Alzheimers Disease.And yet, as Reardon shows, Fisher was complicit in their production.Anything for a buck or so it seems.I liked reading the book, its cool analysis, its thorough research, its sturdy construction, best of all for showing us, in more detail than entirely necessary, how a legend fights its way into being, and folks, it isn't always pretty.

3-0 out of 5 stars Oh well and Ho Hum
If you have read the published journals and collected letters,this book is largely redundant.Ms Reardon has meticulously documented how she has supplemented these with interviews and excerpts from the Fisher papers at the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe.Despite the significant effort and research,I'm not sure that this book has added significant content or understanding.I believe that we are all human beings with our own frailties and foibles and I think that Ms Reardon has tried to fairly capture that aspect of Ms Fisher's life.However I think Ms Fisher's voice in the published journals and letters does this as well.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Biography of a most important culinary writer
`Poet of the Appetites, The Lives and Loves of M.F.K. Fisher' by Joan Reardon is, obviously, a biography of America's greatest culinary essayist. It is important to distinguish Ms. Fisher's subject from her great contemporaries, Julia Child and James Beard, who wrote about food and cooking. The point of the title of this book is that Ms. Fisher wrote about eating and the enjoyment of eating.

Ms. Reardon is eminently qualified to do the biography of Ms. Fisher, as she was a friend and associate of Ms. Fisher for several years and a commentator on her works in earlier writings. Her main problem was that the eminent writing stylist, Ms. Fisher wrote so many memoirs on various parts of her own life that it may have been hard to compete with her subject.

In Ms. Reardon's favor is the fact that Ms. Fisher had a tendency to `play fast and loose with her renditions of events' (quote from Ms. Reardon's introduction). This means that while Ms. Fisher's description of, for example, her early 1930s life with her first husband in Dijon in `Long Ago in France: The Years in Dijon' may be more interesting to read than Ms. Reardon's account of the same period, Joan Reardon is more likely to be giving us the unvarnished story.

Part of my problem in reading this biography may have been the fact that I knew relatively little of Ms. Fisher's life. Unlike my reading the biographies of Julia Child and James Beard, I had no sense of anticipation to discover how, for example, Julia Child acquired her passion for French cooking.

My exposure up to this point had been a brief essay by James Villas on an encounter with Ms. Fisher late in her career. And, many of her most famous pieces were published by the early 1950's, when the biggest events in her life were her private problems with husband number two and her daughters. When I reached this point in her life, the reading becomes much more labored.

Ms. Reardon's narrative is, I am convinced, extremely accurate, albeit not very engaging. It is obvious from financial difficulties why Ms. Fisher wished to disengage from her second husband Donald Friede, but I simply get no strong sense of why she fell out of love with her first husband, Al Fisher, aside from her interest in Dillwyn Parrish.

As I write this, I get the sense that maybe I wanted too much, but I will go with my visceral reaction and say that Ms. Reardon's straight talk may not get behind the events quite as well as I may hope.

The problem may also be in the fact that where Child and Beard had such public, active lives, Fisher's life was quite private.

The very best thing about this book is that it gives you a new perspective on Fisher's own writings and add to their value. The book may or may not encourage you to read Fisher's works, in spite of John Thorne's enthusiastic recommendation on the back cover.

My final take on this book is the fact that I have read other culinary biographies with more interest than I got from this book, but I still consider this an excellent biography of a very important American writer.
... Read more

5. American Writers for Children Since 1960: Poets, Illustrators, and Non Fiction Authors (Dictionary of Literary Biography) Volume 61
by Glenn Estes
 Hardcover: 392 Pages (1987-08-28)
list price: US$300.00 -- used & new: US$300.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0810317397
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6. Madder Music, Stronger Wine: The Life of Ernest Dowson, Poet and Decadent (Tauris Parke Paperbacks)
by Jad Adams
Paperback: 232 Pages (2002-01-12)
list price: US$17.95 -- used & new: US$3.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1860647146
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Ernest Dowson, a major poet of the Victorian Decadent period, alcoholic, and severe depressive, died in 1900 at 32. He created much of his best work while suffering from tuberculosis. The most tragic of his generation, his life is a story of doomed love and adversity. Adams explores how the poet's strange delights and sexual excesses were worked into his lyrical verse.
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Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Dowson biography ably fills a void
A solid effort that does a fine job of exploring the life of a very talented but rather mysterious figure in English poetry.Given the dearth of documentation available, Adams ably explores Downson's life and the artistic circle of which he was a part. The one weakness is the relative lack of attention paid to the poems themselves.Though they aren't ignored, Adams doesn't do much to enhance our understanding of the works that are likely to keep Dowson's name familiar to poetry lovers for generations to come. Still, the books offers a wonderful look at its subject and the many talent writers who were part of the brief but brillant Decadent period in British literature. ... Read more

7. W. B. Yeats: A Life Volume II: The Arch-Poet 1915-1939 (Wb Yeats a Life) (v. 2)
by R. F. Foster
Hardcover: 798 Pages (2003-12-01)
list price: US$74.00 -- used & new: US$24.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0198184654
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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The first volume in Roy Foster's magisterial biography of W.B. Yeats was hailed as 'a work of huge significance' (The Atlantic Monthly) and 'a stupendous historiographical feat' (Irish Sunday Independent). Now, the eagerly awaited second volume explores the complex poetic, political, and personal intricacies of Yeats's dramatic final decades, a period that saw the Easter Rebellion, the founding of the Irish state in 1922, and the production of Yeats's greatest masterpieces.In the conclusion of this first fully authorized biography, Foster brilliantly illuminates the circumstances--the rich internal and external experiences--that shaped the great poetry of Yeats's later years: 'The Wild Swans at Coole,' 'Sailing to Byzantium,' 'The Tower,' 'The Circus Animals Desertion,' 'Under Ben Bulben,' and many others. Yeats's pursuit of Irish nationalism and an independent Irish culture, his continued search for supernatural truths through occult experimentation, his extraordinary marriage, a series of tempestuous love affairs, and his lingering obsession with Maud Gonne are all explored here with a nuance and awareness rare in literary biography. Foster gives us the very texture of Yeats's life and thought, revealing the many ways he made poetry out of the 'quarrel' with himself and the upheaval around him. But this consummate biography also shows that Yeats was much more than simply a lyric poet and examines in great detail Yeats's non-poetic work--his essays, plays, polemics, and memoirs. The enormous and varied circle of Yeats's friends, lovers, family, collaborators and antagonists inhabit and enrich a personal world of astounding energy, artistic commitment and verve; while the poet himself is shown returning again and again to his governing preoccupations, sex and death. Based on complete and unprecedented access to Yeats's papers and written with extraordinary grace and insight, W.B. Yeats, A Life offers the fullest portrait yet of the private and public life of one of the twentieth century's greatest poets. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars Distinguished Biography
RoyFoster has lived up to the standard he set in the first volume of this biography.This is deeply researched, well-written, and wonderfully informative account of Yeats's life.

3-0 out of 5 stars Messin' With Ellmann et al
I agree, largely, with what I've read here.Foster *is* an anteater, to quote one Amazon reviewer.

On the other hand, you're dealing with Yeats.Yeats was probably the most sophisticated thinker about literary persona and literary stance that Western literature has ever produced.Only Shakespeare--who, as far as we know, never theorized explicitly about any of this, much less wrote it down--surpasses him, and not by design.Such figures as Pound are nothing in comparison.It should come as no surprise that Yeats' own autobiographical material is forbidding in the extreme; if you get past that you have Ellmann to deal with, and you'd best go loaded for bear.

Foster has taken a blunderbuss, since Ellmann showed up with a rifle.Nonetheless, both approaches are invaluable.Foster's work is magisterial, even if it's not a great literary biography *taken as such*.On the other hand, it offers an incredible resource for the serious student of Yeats.Detail aside (helpful as that is to scholars) Foster makes a very good case for Yeats' persona-management in public and private, something I have come to feel is essential to understanding the poet and which, along with the occult study, has been imperfectly examined.(See Maddox's ridiculous effort for an example of this at its worst.)

Read together, though, both major biographies tend to compliment each other very nicely.Give that a try.

3-0 out of 5 stars Te Diem
If I may be permitted to speak oxymoronically, this book as it once indispensable and utterly useless. It is indispensable for the sheer wealth and weight of fact it carries. The book constitutes a veritable rhapsody of small details, collected without due regard for relevance and with every regard for hanging on the the myriad fruits of bibliophilia. How then is it useless?It is useless because it dispenses with the immense effort - at once imaginative and cognitive - of reconstructing the relationships and the world to which the work and activity of Yeats was a response and against which he defined himself. This task of reconstruction is never only a matter of painstaking factual excavation. It is a question of reimagining a whole "field of force" (Wittgenstein) into which, so to speak, the poet was "thrown". This bok is a heroic but antiquarian leviathan. ... Read more

8. Siegfried Sassoon: The Making of a War Poet, A biography (1886-1918)
by Jean Moorcroft Wilson
Paperback: 600 Pages (2005-02-17)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$19.86
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 041597383X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967), soldier, poet, and witness to a century of war, is an icon of the twentieth century; Jean Moorcroft Wilson is the leading authority on him. In this two-volume biography, she offers her definitive analysis of his life and works. The first critically acclaimed volume, covering Sassoon's life up until the end of the Great War, offers rich material on his poetry, his patriotism, and his anti-war stance. In volume two, Moorcroft Wilson reveals the truth of Sassoon's life after the armistice, when most people thought he was dead; the story includes a series of love affairs with such larger-than-life characters as Queen Victoria's great-grandson, Prince Phillip of Hesse, the flamboyant Ivor Novello, and the exotic and bejeweled Stephen Tennant. But this was also the period of Sassoon's close friendships with the greatest literary figures of the age, including Hardy, Beerbohm, E.M. Forster, and T.E. Lawrence. br Written with the cooperation of Siegfried Sassoon's family and friends, and with access to a mass of private and unpublished material, poems, diaries, letters, and photographs, this meticulously researched biography will be the standard work on Sassoon's life and legacy.REVIEW: 'Thoroughly absorbing."." (John Gross, The Sunday Telegraph)REVIEW: 'A story in which the roots are as interesting as the core ...invaluable to historians of the period."." ( Andrew Motion, The Times (London))REVIEW: 'A necessary and engrossing piece of work."." (Neil Powell, Times Literary Supplement)AUTHORBIO: Jean Moorcroft Wilson is a lecturer in English at London University. Her previous books include biographies of Isaac Rosenberg and Charles Hamilton Sorley, as well as William Watson and Virginia Woolf. She is married to Virginia Woolf's nephew, with whom she runs a publishing house.Amazon.com Review
This biography appears in the midst of a small Sassoon revival. Although not the sprightliest of writers, Jean Moorcroft Wilson gives a comprehensive and well-rounded impression of Sassoon, drawing on much new material, including both sides of his correspondence with T.E. Lawrence. "Unlike the many writers who lead sedentary lives," Wilson notes, "[Sassoon] was a man of action caught up in the bloodiest conflict in history." In the early 1920s, still glowing from the success of his poems of the First World War, Sassoon had imagined he would write a "Madame Bovary dealing with sexual inversion." But the poet who patrolled no man's land at night and whose initially romantic verses gradually came to encompass all the horrors of trench warfare could not find the courage to declare his love for men. One of the benefits of this late biography, as Wilson points out, is that she can now write openly of what Sassoon could not. --Regina Marler ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars Engrossing
I'm ashamed to admit I'm not much of a biography reader. I can actually count on one hand the number of bio's I've completed and they have all been rather fluffy. After reading Pat Barker's wonderful WWI trilogy I was moved to find out more about Sassoon and discovered this book through a library search. I was a bit daunted by its length but have managed to read almost all of it in a couple of weeks. It reads quite easily and has actually at times left me reluctant to put it down. I am inspired to read biographies of Dr.Rivers, Robert Ross, and Robert Graves. I have also begun a better appreciation of poetry in general. Ms.Wilson writes on the assumption that her readers have knowledge of the technical aspects of poetry which I definitely lack. But she can be forgiven that. I am looking forward to reading Sassoon's memoirs and fiction. I will definitely read other installments of this fascinating biography.

2-0 out of 5 stars Criticism or Biography
Ms Wilson needs to make up her mind whether to write a book of Literary Criticism or a biography.The book suffers from too much critical analysis of Sassoon's poetry and not enough about his life.Either he was an extremely boring and prosaic poet or Ms. Wilson needs to delve deeper into his intellectual and emotional development - really his cricket exploits and his hunting prowess does not lend anything to the very essence of his life.Ms. Wilson's prose is turgid and repetitive. An extremely disappointing work.

5-0 out of 5 stars Splendid biography of the great war poet, hero and sportsman
The biography is artfully crafted with an entertaining balance between story and documentation. I found the level of detail fascinating and not at all constraining, very much like enjoying following brushstrokes in an impressionist landscape. The book broadened and deepened my appreciation of the man, the times, the War and the literary and cultural environment of the first two decades of 20th century Britain.

If Ms Wilson follows with further volumes of Sassoons biography, count me in as an enthusiastic reader!

4-0 out of 5 stars A much needed biography
I was stunned several years ago to realize there was no modern biography of Sassoon so I was really looking forward to this book and in the end I was really pleased with it.It is perhaps a little too detailed(descriptions of the personalities of Sassoon's schoolmasters, etc.) andshe occasionally jumps around chronologically but Wilson does bring Sassoonto life.Rather than emphasizing his sexuality she puts it into contextand she follows his emotional development through his poetry.She alsodoes an excellent job sorting out the confusion of wartime events.I'mlooking forward to the next volume of this biography and I'd like to readher bio of Charles Hamilton Sorley, another war poet. ... Read more

9. T. S. Eliot - Life and Times of a Dramatist Poet (Biography)
by Biographiq
Paperback: 60 Pages (2008-04-13)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$9.61
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Asin: 1599860376
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T. S. Eliot - Life and Times of a Dramatist Poet is a biography of Thomas Stearns Eliot. T. S. Eliot was an American-British poet, dramatist, and literary critic who received the Noble Prize in Literature in 1948. Eliot studied at Harvard, the Sorbonne, and Oxford, and wrote numerous works including Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats (1939), The Waste Land (1922), and The Hollow Men (1925). T.S. Eliot - Life and Times of a Dramatist Poet is highly recommended for those interested in the life and history of T. S. Eliot, one of the most distinguished literary figures of the 20th century. ... Read more

10. Book, the Ring and the Poet: Biography of Robert Browning
by William Irvine, Park Honan
 Hardcover: 620 Pages (1975-03-06)

Isbn: 0370103629
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11. Lorenz Hart: A Poet on Broadway
by Frederick Nolan
Paperback: 416 Pages (1995-11-02)
list price: US$44.99 -- used & new: US$26.59
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Asin: 0195102894
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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Lorenz Hart singlehandedly changed the craft of lyric writing, transforming the commerical song lyric from one of tired cliches and cloying sentimentality to one with unexpected phrases that would twang the nerves or touch the heart. Endowed with both a buoyant wit and a tender sincerity, Hart brought a poetic complexity to his art penning such memorable hits as My Funny Valentine, Isn't It Romantic?, The Lady is a Tramp, and Blue Moon.

Lorenz Hart: A Poet on Broadway presents the public triumphs of a true genius of the American musical theatre, and the personal tragedies of a man his friend Mabel Mercer described as "the saddest man I ever knew." A veritable who's who of Broadway's golden age, including Joshua Logan, Gene Kelly, George Abbott, and many more, recall their uncensored, often hilarious, sometimes poignant memories of the cigar-chomping wordsmith who composed some of the best lyrics ever concocted for the Broadway stage, but who remained forever lost and lonely in the crowds of hangers-on he attracted.

Skillfully pulling together the chaotic details of Hart's remarkable life, beginning with his bohemian upbringing in turn-of-the-century Harlem, through his early success with Richard Rodgers, and life in Hollywood in the Thirties. He goes on to look at Hart's final decade as one of the undisputed kings of Broadway while simultaneously his personal life disintegrated into a madness of alcohol and self-loathing. This rich work captures the excitement, the achievement, the dizzying heights, and the crushing lows of and American original. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars Very good
Nolan labored under a severe handicap.For some reason, the owners of the copyright on Hart's lyrics would not grant Nolan permission to quote them at length (for some probably very stupid reason).Therefore, Nolan concentrates necessarily on the life.He has done yeoman's work hunting down those Hart acquaintances still alive as well as letters previously unpublished.I think his portrait quite insightful.He manages to contain many of Hart's contradictions.He also keeps Hart's homosexuality in perspective, something rare in our time when writers seem to reduce an artist to his sexual preference.They focus so strongly on the juicy details that they forget the person.Put crudely, I doubt any two homosexuals are alike even in their homosexuality and there are more homosexuals than there are poets of the caliber of Hart.Furthermore, Hart's "natural" homosexuality was hardly yea or nay.He proposed to at least two women who knew of his sexual activities.They turned him down, not because he was homosexual, but because he was alcoholic.

Hart's sex life was undoubtedly a mess (although not necessarily because he was gay).His great fear of loneliness made the rest of his entire life even messier.He was physically unappealing - extremely short, with a head too large for his body and coarse features.With alcohol came oblivion - he drank enough to pass out.Gradually, the drinking caught up with him, and he died in his 40s.Nolan makes it quite clear that Hart had been pursuing passive suicide for several years.

Nevertheless, this is just one side of Hart, and not really the side that makes us, years later, care about him.He was, as Nolan points out, a poet on Broadway.His songs contain some of the finest lyric poetry of the century.His range wasn't particularly great and he wasn't quite the innovator some think him (P. G. Wodehouse and Ira Gershwin did precede him as writers of sophisticated lyrics), but within his emotional bailiwick, he was a master.Nolan shows us that aspect as well.Despite the obstacles thrown in his way, Nolan gives us a sense of Hart's genuine individuality - an attitude, really, of loneliness and realism.Offhand, I can't think of a straight "I love you/You love me" in any of Hart's songs."I Wish I Were in Love Again," "Falling in Love with Love," "It Never Entered My Mind," "Isn't It Romantic," "Spring is Here," "Blue Moon," and "Glad to be Unhappy" concern love lost, love dreamed about, and love maybe.Undoubtedly, Hart had a viewpoint toward the subject skewed a certain way - worried about the fragility of human relations, despite all the surface dazzle of wit.

Nolan makes all of this clear.Indeed, his inability to spend much time with the lyrics themselves pushed him to dig all the deeper into the core of the songs.I really like this book.

3-0 out of 5 stars Lorenz who????
If I wanted a book about the Broadway Stage during the period that Larry Hart and Dick Rodgers wrote together I would have highly recommended this book. If I wanted to know about all the goings on of all the actors in all the plays and musicals that occured at that time, again this would have been the book of choice. What I WANTED was to read about Mr. Hart. To read bits and pieces about his personal life throughout the book was to say the least, a dissapointment. Do I feel like I know the man any better? Sure. But I also know as much about Mr. Rodgers. Gene Lee's book on Johnny Mercer, now that was a book about the man and his lyrics! Nuff said.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good Read
The book was an exhaustive research on his works, I would have preferred a bit more about what made him as a person and a little more on his hidden life.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Standing Ovation for Lorenz Hart!
Lorenz Hart is one of the finest lyricists in the history of American musical theater.He is largely responsible for elevating the process of writing lyrics into an art form.Before Hart, lyrics were usually trite and predictable with simplistic rhymes such as "I am blue, and so are you."

Hart wrote lyrics that are cerebral and sophisticated.His compositions are infused with wit and wisdom. He used complex rhymes.An example from "My Funny Valentine":"Your looks are laughable, unphotographable. Yet you're my favorite work of art. Is your figure less than Greek?Is your mouth a little weak?When you open it to speak, are you smart?"

Another example from "Bewitched": "I'm wild again, beguiled again, a whimpering simpering child again...."And yet another example from "Lady is a Tramp":"She gets too hungry for dinner at eight.She likes the theater and never comes late. She never bothers with people she hates.That's why the lady is a tramp."

Hart could be wistful and romantic as in "My Romance":"My romance doesn't need to have a moon in the sky.My romance doesn't need a blue lagoon standing by.No month of May. No twinkling star.No hideaway.No soft guitar."

Hart's lyrics are consistently observant and very often ingenious.They are the perfect match for the variety and intricacy of Richard Rodgers' superb music.

This biography is quite detailed with a number of amusing anecdotes.It is a must read for those who want to know more about this endearing, erratic, and gifted artist Lorenz Hart. His contributions to musical theater are profound and timeless. ... Read more

12. W. H. Auden: The Life of a Poet
by Charles Osborne
Paperback: 344 Pages (1995-09)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$24.50
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Asin: 0871317885
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A biography of W.H. Auden, which looks at his career as a poet, and also offers an insight into the personality of the private man behind the public reputation. First published in 1979. ... Read more

13. Jose Marti: Cuban Patriot and Poet (Hispanic Biographies)
by David Goodnough
Library Binding: 128 Pages (1996-04)
list price: US$26.60 -- used & new: US$121.74
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Asin: 0894907611
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A biography of the famous writer and poet who inspired Cubans to fight for their freedom from the Spanish. ... Read more

14. African-American Poets (Collective Biographies)
by Michael R. Strickland
Library Binding: 112 Pages (1996-11)
list price: US$26.60 -- used & new: US$120.87
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Asin: 0894907743
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Profiles the lives and work of ten African American poets: Gwendolyn Brooks, Haki R. Madhubuti, Rita Dove, Eloise Greenfield, Langston Hughes, Imamu Amiri Baraka, Maya Angelou, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Nikki Giovanni. ... Read more

15. Tennyson: Poet and Prophet
by Philip Henderson
 Hardcover: 244 Pages (1978-03)

Isbn: 0710087764
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16. Shakespeare and His Birthplace: Containing a Biography of the Poet, and a Guide to Stratford-Upon-Avon and Its Vicinity
by Thomas Nelson Publishers
Paperback: 162 Pages (2010-03-04)
list price: US$21.75 -- used & new: US$13.71
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Asin: 1146451210
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This is an EXACT reproduction of a book published before 1923. This IS NOT an OCR'd book with strange characters, introduced typographical errors, and jumbled words.This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process. We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide. We appreciate your understanding of the imperfections in the preservation process, and hope you enjoy this valuable book. ... Read more

17. Shakspeare and His Times: Including the Biography of the Poet; Criticisms on His Genius and Writings; a New Chronology of His Plays; a Disquisition on ... Poetry, and Elegant Literature of His
by Nathan Drake
Paperback: 676 Pages (2001-06-08)
list price: US$32.99 -- used & new: US$32.99
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Asin: 1402169841
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This Elibron Classics book is a facsimile reprint of a 1838 edition by Baudry's European Library, Paris. ... Read more

18. To Shirk No Idleness: A Critical Biography of the Poet Andrew Young
by Edward Lowbury, Alison Young
 Paperback: 311 Pages (1998-06)
list price: US$23.95
Isbn: 3705201255
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19. Popular Poetic Pearls, and Biographies of Poets
by Anonymous
Paperback: 446 Pages (2010-02-04)
list price: US$36.75 -- used & new: US$20.90
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Asin: 1143726073
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20. Poets, Poems, and Rhymes of East Cheshire: Being a History of the Poetry and Song Lore, and a Book of Biographies of the Poets and Song Writers of the Eastern Portion of the County Palatine of Chester
by Thomas Middleton
Paperback: 200 Pages (2010-03-04)
list price: US$23.75 -- used & new: US$14.68
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 114648755X
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
This is an EXACT reproduction of a book published before 1923. This IS NOT an OCR'd book with strange characters, introduced typographical errors, and jumbled words.This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process. We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide. We appreciate your understanding of the imperfections in the preservation process, and hope you enjoy this valuable book. ... Read more

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