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Book reviews for "Ford,_Harry" sorted by average review score:

The Cinnamon Peeler: Selected Poems
Published in Hardcover by Knopf (1991)
Authors: Michael Ondaatje and Harry Ford
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A Beautiful Collection
The wonderful collection of poems that comprise The Cinnamon Peeler were written by Michael Ondaatje during a twenty-year period. They are works of deep intimacy and dazzling beauty.

Not being a poet myself, I enjoy reading Ondaatje's gorgeous poetry to my novelist wife.

More than love poems, these works contain wonderful twists and turns that are both painful and funny. Ondaatje has obviously turned to both Rousseau and Wallace Stevens for inspiration, but he also contributes his own sense of the novel and his awareness of social strata.

This is a charming book, with a muted sense of humor. With The Cinnamon Peeler, Ondaatje takes us deep inside his own mind and heart. It is trip worth making.

To understand Michael Ondaatje, read his poetry!
Michael Ondaatje knows how to write poetry. Primarily, he is a poet. Secondly a novelist. This collection contains a great variety of poems about day to day life, love, marriage, deep observations about children, humour, history and many more.

My favourite poem is ""To a Sad Daughter" which has a universal appeal. Once, I read this poem to my wife just replacing the poet's daughter's infatuation: ice hockey players with our daughter's hobby. My wife remarked: "Great poem. So you write good poetry too!"

I also like other poems including "The Cinnamon Peeler", "A House Divided", "Women Like You", "Billboards" and "Postcard From Piccadilly Street".

Michael Ondaatje shares his great intimate moments with us including love, his recollection of places and relationships with us. If you want to understand Ondaatje's prose, one must begging with his poetry. For anyone 'The Cinnamon Peeler' is an entry into a dark and deep labyrinth painted with human experience. When you come out of it, you'll be a different person.

This book is a one I read over and over again when I'm both sad and happy!

A wonderful, readable mixture of poems
Michael Ondaatje knows how to mix humor, beauty, sadness, and acute observation together to make lovely works of art. This collection contains a great variety of poetry, from simple and touching observations about his children, to deeply imagined distant moments of wonder. My favorite is "Pure Memory/Chris Dewdney" which actually made me cry twice for two different reasons when I first read it. I will say no more here. "Elimination Dance" is also a fun one to read out loud. "The Cinnamon Peeler" itself is a fantastic love poem. There is so much good stuff in this.

The Simple Truth: Poems
Published in Paperback by Knopf (1996)
Authors: Philip Levine and Harry Ford
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Mr. Levine's Simple Truth
Philip Levine writes in the title poem of this collection:

"Some things/you know all your life. They are so simple and true/they must be said without elegance, meter and rhyme,/they must be laid on the table beside the salt shaker,/the glass of water, the absence of light gathering/ in the shadows of picture frames, they must be/ naked and alone, they must stand for themselves."

These lines capture many of the themes of this Pulitzer-prize winning book. The poems in this collection are deceptively simple, "naked and alone". They generally involve an incident or person, recollected by the poet from his past. The incident is recounted in bare unrhymed lines, without hyperbole or judgment. We are encouraged to see the incident, as we see the still life reproduced on the cover of the volume and to let it "stand for itself". The poems are elegaic in tone and the effect of the memory is generally one of deep sadness.

Many of the poems have a deliberately pictorial quality, as reflected in their titles, that remind one of a photo or of a painting in a museum. In many cases, the reader is tempted to conceive in the mind's eye a painting to accompany the poem. This is true, particularly, as the book progresses into its final section with its descriptions of the poet's mother ("My Mother with Purse, the Summer they Murdered the Spanish Poet"), father ("My Father with Cigarette Twelve Years before the Nazis could Break his Heart"), and others ("Edward Lieberman, Entrepreneur, four years after the Burnings on Okinawa") One of the poems of the collection is title simply "Photography". Ironically, this poem is less pictorial than many others. It relates a sad incident from the poet's childhood involving his Aunt, and others, and focuses on the ravages of time and memory.

The poems also focus on the role imagination plays in constituting our reality. The first poem of the collection "On the Meeting of Garcia Lorca and Hart Crane" relates a meeting between these two romantic 20th Century poets and alludes to Crane's apparent suicide in jumping from a ship bound from Vera Cruz to New York. Crane's tragic but romantic death is juxtaposed with the vision coming "to an ordinary man staring/ at a filthy river" as he contemplates not only Crane and Lorca but his son falling to his death "from/the roof of a building he works on." With a voice of irony, the poet asks us to "bless the imagination. It gives/ us the myths we live by. Let's bless/ the visionary power of the human-- the only animal that's got it--"

These poems have a multi-layered simplicity realized through an understated voice of sadness and illuminated by imagination.

He writes plain, about things plain, and is plain fabulous!
Philip Levine once vowed to be the voice of the poor, the simple, those without voice--a vow he has not broken in his sixty-plus years of writing poetry. In 1995, Levine was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for his collection of poems, "the Simple Truth". That prize would mean less to him than the knowledge that thousands of people have found enjoyment and comfort from reading his poems--that from his work, they came to better understand our common vulnerabilty to the state of being human. Levine's poems are an echo of the emotions trapped in the reader's heart; they are a friendly voice giving substance to what has been lived, but not spoken. Levine's title poem "The Simple Truth" invites the reader to recognize and celebrate the stark beauty of simple things. Each poem in this collection builds on the other to introduce the reader to the poet, who in turn introduces readers to perfect poetic expression, so personal that they will stop and say "Yes!! That IS how it is!" Anyone who cannot relate to or reconginze themself in at least half of the poems in this fine book, have not read it. That's "the simple truth."

Beautiful book
Levine's poetry often moves me. In my opinion, this is his best book. His poems strike me as being very honest; they make me accept the complicated mess of joys and disappointments that it means to be human. The title poem, "The Simple Truth," explains exactly what I mean (and in a better way than I'm doing here). Please read this book.

The Master Letters: Poems
Published in Hardcover by Knopf (1995)
Authors: Lucie Brock-Broido and Harry Ford
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Extraordinary book, blissfully beautiful
I spent days, after reading this book, weeks, imbibing and re-imbibing every syllable. I felt the kind of drunk, dizzy, first-time-in-love kind of love for this language that I hadn't felt for poetry in a decade. I've gone back and read it again maybe two, three, or ninety times since, and it hasn't lost its vertigos of wonder. It has inspired a host of imitators (Brenda Shaughnessy, Karen Volkman, Mary Jo Bang), none of whom are as brave or wild or awe-inducing. That an author so unprolific should inspire a whole new branch of writing bespeaks the importance of this book; poets who read it often feel that they've found something that had been missing from all poetries leading up to it, and afterwards everything they read seems predictable, emotionless, and linguistically flat. The last time a book came along that was this daring and this powerful, it was posthumous: Sylvia Plath's _Ariel_, whose swoops and deft gestures of language don't actually come close to those of _The Master Letters_.

This is one of the best and most fascinating books of poems published in the last quarter of the 20th century. An extraordinary accomplishment.

Lucie Brock Broido is masterful.
This reworking of themes from Dickinson and other sources is sexy, intellectual, sentimental, unsentimental, funny, heartbreaking, and groovy. Lucie Brock Broido is one of the most talented and under-appreciated poets writing today. An example of brilliance: "was keeper of the badly marred, was furious done god."

What Work Is: Poems
Published in Hardcover by Knopf (1991)
Authors: Philip Levine and Harry Ford
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Powerful Poetry!
This is my favorite book by Philip Levine. Levine has produced many fine books, and many poems that are masterpieces, and yet I believe he has outdone himself with this ingenious book.

There are poets who would gladly sacrifice large chunks of their time here on earth to be able to write a poem like the title poem, "What Work Is." This poem is astonishing in its power and its ability to make the reader feel the harshness of the work world, and at the same time begin to realize what work is, and what it isn't, and thereby uncover a well of tenderness and love that had been hidden away, unknown even to that very reader, until that moment.

"Fear and Fame" is my next favorite poem in this book, and it is a truly thrilling and moving poem, about having a soul and working in a soulless workplace. Gripping and absorbing and magnificent.

This entire book is structured for power, from beginning to end, and the reader feels empowered by it, by being made to experience and know the personal power that exists within, but apart from, the economic and societal power structures that be.

The language of this book is astonishing, and riveting. This book is a masterpiece.

This book has soul, in all the best senses of the word. Soul.

I recommend this book to everybody.

American Toughness
It is sad that we in the United States do not appreciate the strength and the variety of the poetry that our country has produced. A major instance of a contemporary poet whose writing deserves attention from a wider readership is Philip Levine. His book, "What Work Is" won the National Book Award for poetry in 1991. He has produced an impressive quantity of poetry which, in its very restraint and poignancy, can help bring meaning to people.

This is a short collection, consisting of four untitled sections. Section III consists of a single extended poem, "Burning" which is broadly autobiographical in character. The remaining three sections consist of a number of short poems with essentially two themes: the lives of the working poor prior to WWII and Levine's experiences as a boy growing up in Detroit. The poems with these themes overlap and are interspersed throughout the book with the earlier sections emphasizing vignettes of individuals doing the ordinary, desultory jobs that are the lot of most of us (such as "Coming Close", "Fire", "Every Blessed Day" and "What Work Is") while the latter section emphasizes Levine's Detroit experiences, the toughness of being a kid, his relationship with his brother, his love of boxing, and his exposure to Anti-Semitism. ("Coming of Age in Michigan", "The Right Cross", "The Sweetness of Bobby Hefka" "On the River".)

The poems are lucidly written with understatement and a lack of sentimentality which underscores the emotions and the passions they contain. It might be useful to compare these poems to the work of three other writers.

First, the poems reminded me of Walt Whitman, in their compassion for an attempt to understand the American worker. They lack Whitman's bravura and optimism, however, and content themselves with painting harshness and with emphasizing the tenacity people need to get by.

A writer with somewhat similar themes to Levine is the under-appreciated Victorian novelist, George Gissing in his books of lower class life in Victorian London such as The Nether World. Levine has a similar sort of attraction to the life of the poor, the unsuccessful and the down and out. He has at once a sympathy for his characters and a distance from them that Gissing seems to lack, for all his portrayals and descriptions.

A third writer is the late poet-nnovelist Charles Bukowski, a favorite of "underground" readers. Bukowski writes of ne'r do wells, prostitutes, and drunkards, -- as well as doing a lot of writing about himself. Levine has some of the same attraction to the scorned of society, but his people are the working poor, and their stories are told with restraint and dignity, unlike those of Bukowski, and also unlike the work of Bukowski, with literary skill and grace.

This is a book of poetry that has both the sadness and the grittiness of life and the toughness to understand and surmount it.

Levine's life work at last just is
A devotion of Levine's life's work, the world of work, at last becomes one of his book's true focus and shows Levine, one of our greatest living poets, at his best. The controlled lyricism of his narratives hone in with precision, as when he pulls in on a woman's forearm at work, a minute detail in a vast world of labor to show us the universality of a struggle Levine himself has endured. While not every poem lives in the factories and workplaces, the fundamental aspect of work in our lives manifests itself in each piece. The short lines and continual enjambment gives his stanzas both the feel and appearence of quality reportage and yet are infused with an empathy and passion for his subjects that both moves and educates. This is the democratization of poetry that Wordsworth aspired to and Whitman acheived. Levine carries on in that tradtion and concretizes, with this book, his place among those American poets to be read in the next century.

New Selected Poems
Published in Hardcover by Knopf (1991)
Authors: Philip Levine and Harry Ford
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Levine A True Master
In my opinion, Philip Levine is perhaps the most honest poet writing in America today. As a master's candidate in an English department, I've endured much of the post-modern fluff that dominates modern poetry. In Levine's work, you won't find the typical introspective ramblings of the depressed modern poet. Levine approaches life in clear and distinct terms. There are images in these poems with ideas showing right through. Levine doesn't resort to petty academic parlor tricks to describe the disappearence of self--check out "Silent in America" for a portrait of a man with a voice so powerful that he cannot even use it.

Of prosody, Levine is also a master. These are not your basic "skinny prose" modern free verse poems. One will find design here with artfully buried rhymes and off rhymes. Levine also experiments quite successfully with both meter and syllabic verse. The amazine thing, however, is that unless you really pay attention to the work, you miss these things. Levine hypnotizes with his ideas and phrasing and clear, sharp images.

Here are the voices of the lost; here are the voices of the downtrodden. Levine has stepped away from academic games and has become a voice of the American poor in the Whitman tradition. As an epigraph in _Selected Poems_ reads, "Vivas for those who have failed."

Levine has had a great influence on me and my work. Anyone writing poetry should check out Levine's work. I'd recommend _What Work Is_ also. In my opinion, it's his best book.

Fantastic American poetry collection
Philip Levine¹s Collected Works is an amazing biography of a life. Spanning a so-far-incomplete life, we can follow Levine¹s progress of maturation. While the beginning poems are strong, it is the middle and end pieces that were the most startling, poems about the working class and later his son. His ability to mix narration and the more typical elements of poetry is extraordinary. Compare the first and last sentences of ³One For The Rose²: ³Three weeks ago I went back / to the same street corner where / 27 years before I took a bus for Akron, / Ohio, but now there was only a blank space / with a few concrete building blocks / scattered among the beer cans², ³Instead I was born / in the wrong year and in the wrong place, / and I made my way so slowly and badly / that I remember every single turn, / and each one smells like an overblown rose, / yellow, American, beautiful, and true.² Levine writes American poetry in the American diction better than anyone since Whitman or Sandburg. His language is conservative and seems simple at first, but when the poem blossoms we are all the more surprised and excited because of it. This book is a gem to read and contains a story, making it as hard to put down as your favorite novel.

Fear Itself: Poems
Published in Hardcover by Knopf (1995)
Authors: Stan Rice and Harry Ford
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Fear Itself
A true artist. Unafraid to search and share, to dig deep into his own heart.

Bleak House
Published in Hardcover by Modern Library (1985)
Authors: Charles Dickens, George Harry Ford, and Sylvere Monod
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Magnificent House.
This is the second book by Dickens I have read so far, but it will not be the last. "Bleak House" is long, tightly plotted, wonderfully descriptive, and full of memorable characters. Dickens has written a vast story centered on the Jarndyce inheritance, and masterly manages the switches between third person omniscient narrator and first person limited narrator. His main character Esther never quite convinces me of her all-around goodness, but the novel is so well-written that I just took Esther as she was described and ran along with the story. In this book a poor boy (Jo) will be literally chased from places of refuge and thus provide Dickens with one of his most powerful ways to indict a system that was particularly cruel to children. Mr. Skimpole, pretending not to be interested in money; Mr. Jarndyce, generous and good; Richard, stupid and blind; the memorable Dedlocks, and My Lady Dedlock's secret being uncovered by the sinister Mr. Tulkinghorn; Mrs. Jellyby and her telescopic philanthropy; the Ironmaster described in Chapter 28, presenting quite a different view of industralization than that shown by Dickens in his next work, "Hard Times." Here is a veritable cosmos of people, neighbors, friends, enemies, lovers, rivals, sinners, and saints, and Dickens proves himself a true master at describing their lives and the environment they dwell in. There are landmark chapters: Chapter One must be the best description of a dismal city under attack by dismal weather and tightly tied by perfectly dismal laws, where the Lord Chancellor sits eternally in Lincoln's Inn Hall. Chapter 32 has one of the eeriest scenes ever written, with suspicious smoke, greasy and reeking, as a prelude to a grisly discovery. Chapter 47 is when Jo cannot "move along" anymore. This Norton Critical is perhaps the best edition of "Bleak House" so far: the footnotes help a lot, and the two Introductions are key to understanding the Law system at the time the action takes place, plus Dickens' interest in this particular topic. To round everything off, read also the criticism of our contemporaries, as well as that of Dickens' time. "Bleak House" is a long, complex novel that opens a window for us to another world. It is never boring and, appearances to the contrary, is not bleak. Enjoy.

Nothing bleak about this...
After years without picking up a novel by Dickens (memories of starchy classes at school), I decided to plunge into "Bleak House", a novel that had been sitting on my bookshelf for about ten years, waiting to be read. Although I found it heavy going at first, mainly because the style is so unfamiliar to modern readers, after about ten pages I was swept up and carried off, unable to put the hefty tome down until I had finished it. This book is a definite classic. The sheer scope of the tale, the wit of the satire (which could still be applied to many legal proceedings today) and the believable characters gripped me up until the magnificent conclusion. One particularly striking thing is the "cinematic" aspect of certain chapters as they switch between different angles, building up to a pitch that leaves the reader breathless. I can't recommend "Bleak House" too highly. And I won't wait so long before reading more Dickens novels.

Deep, dark, delicious Dickens!
"There is little to be satisfied in reading this book"?? I couldn't disagree more. Bleak House left a profound impression on me, and was so utterly satisfying a reading experience that I wanted it never to end. I've read it twice over the years and look forward to reading it again. Definitely my favorite novel.

I don't know what the previous reviewer's demands are when reading a novel, but mine are these: the story must create its world - whatever and wherever that world might be - and make me BELIEVE it. If the novelist cannot create that world in my mind, and convince me of its truths, they've wasted my time (style doesn't matter - it can be clean and spare like Orwell or verbose like Dickens, because any style can work in the hands of someone who knows how to use it). Many novels fail this test, but Bleak House is not one of them.

Bleak House succeeds in creating a wonderfully dark and complex spider web of a world. On the surface it's unfamiliar: Victorian London and the court of Chancery - obviously no one alive today knows that world first hand. And yet as you read it you know it to be real: the deviousness, the longing, the secrets, the bureaucracy, the overblown egos, the unfairness of it all. Wait a minute... could that be because all those things still exist today?

But it's not all doom and gloom. It also has Dickens's many shades of humor: silliness, word play, comic dialogue, preposterous characters with mocking names, and of course a constant satirical edge. It also has anger and passion and tenderness.

I will grant one thing: if you don't love reading enough to get into the flow of Dickens's sentences, you'll probably feel like the previous reviewer that " goes on and on, in interminable detail and description...". It's a different dance rhythm folks, but well worth getting used to. If you have to, work your way up to it. Don't start with a biggie like Bleak House, start with one of his wonderful short pieces such as A Christmas Carol.

Dickens was a gifted storyteller and Bleak House is his masterpiece. If you love to dive into a book, read and enjoy this gem!

Absent Friends
Published in Hardcover by Knopf (1989)
Authors: Frederick Busch and Harry Ford
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Favorite short story
"Ralph the Duck", the second item in ABSENT FRIENDS, is my favorite short story. This first-person account by a Vietnam veteran hooks the reader with a funny golden retriever who loves what makes him sick (Think about it). The narrator is a part-time college student, taking one free class a session in partial payment for his job as a security guard. He figures it'll take him sixteen years to graduate.
The story is heavily laced with irony in that the student tests the teacher. The narrator (I couldn't find a name) turns in a paper entitled "Ralph the Duck", which seems entirely inappropriate for an assignment in rhetoric and persuasion (You'll need to read the story several times before you figure out why he felt it met the assignment).
We've all met teachers like the professor. He never wears a suit. He sports khakis and sweaters, loafers or sneakers. Ironed dungarees.
There's lots of sardonic humor. The narrator says, "Slick characters like my professor like it if you're a killer or at least a onetime middleweight fighter."
The story picks up pace when a red-headed co-ed takes some pills during a snowstorm and disappears, and our hero is off to the rescue. The redhead is the professor's "advisee".
Although the story is twenty pages long, it is very sparely written. As I was reading it, I thought to myself, "This would make a really good novel." Apparently Busch did, too. It's called GIRLS. If you can't figure out "Ralph the Duck", read the novel.

RALPH THE DUCK is simply one of the best short stories I've ever read. It is absolute MUST reading for the developing writer, though it may make you feel miserable, as its level of mastery is intimidating. It is simple and unforgettable.

I'm actually sorry Frederick expanded the story into "GIRLS". It works far better as the punch to the stomach it is in short-story form.

This collection of stories will whet your appetite for more from this fine, fine upstate New York writer.

Beautifully Untold Tales
In "From the New World," the first of the fourteen stories in this collection by Frederick Busch, a producer with a liking for Melville encourages a writer to develop a script where people learn things without overhearing them. Busch follows his character's advice: these stories are about loss -- the loss, by sympathetic, everyday people, of a parent, spouse, sibling, or child -- and yet the dimensions of their loss, sometimes even the fact of the loss itself, are only hinted at. The stories are remarkably affecting, the characters are credible and interesting, and the dialogue is right on.

Company of Heroes: My Life As an Actor in the John Ford Stock Company
Published in Paperback by Madison Books (1994)
Author: Harry, Jr Carey
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An interesting companion to some of the bios now appearing about John Ford. Carey first met Ford when his father worked with Ford in silent movies and grew up with Uncle Jack to have a movie career of his own. Some good behind the scene color to a man of prodigious talent and personality faults.

Probably my Favorite Book on Ford
There have been a lot of books on John Ford, and I hope there are many more, because I think he was the greatest American director there ever was, or will be. He created unforgettable images, tales of strength and tenderness, and characters that we never forget. His best movies remain with you over the years. "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" is a movie that you appreciate more as you get older. Harry Carey's book gives you a view of Ford, in all his tyranny and tenderness, that you're simply not going to find anywhere else. He also has great stories about the early great western stars: William S. Hart, Harry Carey, Sr., and Hoot Gibson. Read it if you're a Ford fan!

A really fine book by someone who has a true appreciation for the giants he worked with. Mr. Carey is a wonderful story teller, sensitive with a good sense of humor. His observations make for what may be the best book about John Ford ever written. But it is Dobe Carey's depiction of all the greats who worked for Ford that makes this book special indeed. They were unique and wonderful screen icons, the likes of which we will never see again. Mr. Carey brings them to life again in a way I shall never forget. Do not miss this book!

Ford: We Never Called Him Henry
Published in Paperback by Tor Books (1987)
Authors: Harry Bennett, Paul Marcus, and Henry Bennett
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Family folklore
I read this book in the mid '50s. I agree that a Henry Ford buff will find this interesting reading. But this book is interesting to me for another reason. My grandfather worked for Ford Motor for years, and then for the Henry Ford Museum until he retired about 1952. From time to time he would see Mr. Ford. He told us that the Ford family had been offended by this book and had bought up as many copies as it could lay it's hands on.

If true, that could explain why it is so difficult to get copies of the original 1951 Gold Medal Book publication today.

After the pages of his original copy fell out of their binding , he stacked the leaves, drilled holes thru the margin cover-to-cover, and bound them all together with two pieces of string. When he died (1958), his copy passed into my mother's hands. About four years ago, it came into mine.

I was fortunate to stumble on another copy at a garage sale in the early '90s (for $.25). Also fortunately, it's binding is still pretty-much in tact. It's the only other copy that I've ever seen.

Good reading for the Ford Automobile history buff
Harry Bennett's story of his life as Henry Ford's right hand man. Bennett served as Henry Ford's assistant for many years - almost running Ford Motor Company at times. Hated by the majority of the Ford family and even by many Ford employees; nevertheless, Bennett seemed to have unequalled power within the organization. This is his account of his role in the automobile manufacturer's interesting history and struggle's with the Ford family. Written years after his retirement from Ford Motor Company. Interesting reading but keep in mind that this is Bennett's story and could be considered one-sided.

Why hasn't anyone found me this book?

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