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Editor's Shelf: Book Recommendations from Our Advisory Editors

From: Ploughshares
Volume 39, Number 2&3, Fall 2013
p. 182 | 10.1353/plo.2013.0063

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Editor's Shelf
Book Recommendations from Our Advisory Editors

Robert Boswell recommends Make It, Take It by Rus Bradburd: “A very effective novel in stories that looks at the underbelly of college basketball.” (Cinco Puntos Press, January 2013)

DeWitt Henry recommends What’s Been Happening to Jane Austen? by William H. Pritchard: “This volume collects his essays and reviews on Novelists and Novels, and on Critics and Criticism, in both cases ranging from classics to contemporaries. Whether or not his favorite books are yours, his forthrightness and standards are bracing. ‘I continue to review,’ he writes, ‘because it helps to give a shape to my life.’” (The Impress Group, April 2011)

Maxine Kumin recommends A Million Years with You: A Memoir of Life Observed by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas: “Thomas is a keen observer of lions, hyenas, wild wolves, politics, religion, and society in Africa. She interweaves all of this with her personal history to form a memoir of extraordinary power.” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, June 2013)

Philip Levine recommends The Lives of Birds by C. G. Hanzlicek: “How do you write about a life, your own, that is not spectacular? No suicides, no murderous cousins or brothers in the slammer, no years at war with anything more powerful than snails or aphids or old age, no poverty & no riches besides the pleasures available to us all, breathing, strolling, listening, sharing what we have with others & taking what’s given; how can you make poetry out of that? If you’d like to learn how it’s done, read C. G. Hanzlicek; he makes it seem so easy, but then the best poetry always seems easy. He can get more out of listening to a mockingbird than I can get out of all of Mahler, & as a bonus he can also get a lot out of Mahler. He’s written the sweetest, most benign confessional poem I’ve ever read—it’s titled ‘Confessional Poem,’ so you won’t miss it. And don’t miss ‘The Recipe,’ ‘Alarm,’ ‘Seventeen,’ ‘My Father’s Grave,’ or the powerful title poem, or the squirrels ‘up to their nuts in pecans.’ Hanzlicek has such a quiet wit it pays to read his poems carefully, & though he can write ‘Sometimes redemption glides down / In the form of mallards,’ he never, ever strains to be important or wise.” (Tebot Bach, April 2013)

Robert Pinsky recommends New and Selected Poems: 1962–2012 by Charles Simic: “A source of pleasure and inspiration, wonderful to dip into at random.” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, March 2013)

Dan Wakefield recommends Boat Girl: A Memoir of Youth, Love, and Fiberglass by Melanie Neale: “A memoir about a young woman being raised and homeschooled on a boat in the Caribbean. Finely and honestly observed.” (Beating Windward Press, October 2012) [End Page 182]