Hirsch, Edward. A Poet’s Glossary. Houghton Harcourt. Apr. 2014. 736p. index. ISBN 9780151011957. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780547737461. REF
Offering definitions, a discussion of poetic techniques, and an unalloyed spiritual quality to his work, Hirsch’s (chancellor, Academy of American Poets; How To Read a Poem) alphabetically arranged glossary includes historical explanations, quotes, interpretative material, usage in various languages, and references to additional terms for even more clarification. The author’s command of English is highlighted as he explains the meaning and employment of poetical terms and leads the reader to a deeper understanding of poetry. For example, in the entry on “Epic,” Hirsch defines the term, names and comments on the earliest such works, notes characteristics of epic poetry, and speaks about the great epic poems from all corners of the world. VERDICT This compilation of stimulating information and of beautiful writing by a master of expression is for all who love language, not just poets.
Street Lit: Representing the Urban Landscape. Scarecrow. 2013. 244p. ed. by Keenan Norris. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780810892620. $38; ebk. ISBN 9780810892637. REF
Norris (English, African American literature, Evergreen Valley Coll.; Brother and the Dancer) and contributors (academics, authors, poets, editors, musicians, and a lawyer) broaden the definition of urban literature while drawing a distinction between African American and hip-hop literature and emphasizing the differences between classic African American literature and street literature. This title offers a course in the genre in 16 signed essays with references and bibliographies; six poems by Tristan Acker, Debra Busman, Sterling Warner, Arisa White, and Juan Delgado; and interviews with authors Lynel Gardner, David Bradley, and Ethan Iverson. The poems are each one to two pages long, the essays four to 18 pages, and the interviews two to 16. A few black-and-white photos appear in Ana Lúcia Souza and Jacqueline Lima Santos’s essay on Brazilian hip-hop. A cumulative bibliography and detailed index round out the presentation. VERDICT Since it is a relatively new literary genre, little expository material has been published on urban or street literature, making this affordable title of interest to literature students at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Vile, John R. The United States Constitution: Questions and Answers. 2d ed. ABC-CLIO. 2013. 308p. ISBN 9781610695718. $68; ebk. ISBN 9781610695725. REF
Tennessee didn’t ratify the 15th Amendment preventing the abridgment of voting rights until 1997—127 years after the amendment became law. The limit on presidential terms was ratified in 1951 after Franklin Roosevelt was elected to an unprecedented four terms in office. These facts plus many more make up this well-researched book that answers most of the questions readers may have regarding the history and application of, and controversies surrounding, the U.S. Constitution. The questions posed by constitutional scholar Vile (political science, Middle Tennessee State Univ.; A Companion to the United States Constitution and Its Amendments) in this extensively revised and updated second edition vary from the simple, such as “What is a quorum?” to more complex subjects such as “In what way has the scope of the Bill of Rights expanded in modern times?” Solid bibliographies closing each chapter will lead the curious reader to additional resources, and appended copies of the referenced documents will allow researchers to compare the whole text of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Articles of the Confederation to the information provided in the answers. Additional appendixes include lists of the Speakers of the House of Representatives, U.S. Presidents, Supreme Court Justices, and one relating to states that includes date of admission to the Union and the number of members in the House of Representatives. The index is of great use if searching for specific data. VERDICT Perfect for anyone looking to expand their knowledge of Constitutional history.
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Monaghan, Patricia. Encyclopedia of Goddesses & Heroines. New World Library. Apr. 2014. 512p. ISBN 9781608682171. pap. $29.95. REF
Prince, Jennifer R. The Handy Bible Answer Book. Visible Ink. Apr. 2014. 432p. illus. index. ISBN 9781578594788. $21.95; ebk. ISBN 9781578594924. REF
Shapiro, Amram & others. The Book of Odds: From Lightning Strikes to Love at First Sight, the Odds of Everyday Life. Morrow. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9780062060853. pap. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062318831. REF
Shouse, Aimee D. Women’s Rights. ABC-CLIO. (Documents Decoded). 2013. 198p. bibliog. ISBN 9781610691994. $79; ebk. ISBN 9781610692007. REF