The Burning Heart: Women Poets of Japan, translated and edited by Kenneth Rexroth and Ikuko Atsumi (Continuum/Seabury, $4.50). The Orchid Boat: Women Poets of China, translated and edited by Kenneth Rexroth and Ling Chung (Continuum/Seabury, $4.50). The Japanese collection spans 15 centuries, the Chinese 23; both show a remarkable sense of continuity within a tradition - particularly the Chinese anthology, in whose most recent selections such themes as the evils of Fascism and the joys of collective farming are treated in the timeless style of the classics. The fact that the poets are women is relevant in a high proportion of the material presented, but in terms of literary style it seems outweighed most of the time by the fact that they are writing in either the Chinese or the Japanese tradition. This is less true in contemporary Japanese works, which show a freedom and an openness to Western influences less perceptible in the Chinese writers (even those who now live in the United States). Both collections are valuable for the discovery of a large number of good poets previously unknown in our language, for a panoramic view of a literary tradition almost completely detached from our own, and simply for the excellence of the contents.
The End of the Game, text and photographs by Peter H. Beard (Dolphin, $9.95). "Only 50 years ago man had to be protected from the beasts; today the beasts must somehow be protected from man," the author laments in his introduction to this largely pictorial, handsomely reproduced study of the destruction of wilderness in Africa - "the end of nature's processes, patterns, cycles, balances: all equilibrium and harmony destroyed." Beginning with an account of early explorers and missionaries, the book picks up momentum with the arrival of rail-roads and big-game hunting as an industry. The last section, a completely wordless series of photos of elephant corpses climaxing in a panorama of bones scattered as far as the eye can see, is chillingly eloquent.
Woody Alllen's Play It Again, Sam, edited by Richard J. Anobile (Grosset & Dunlap, $7.95). The Beatles in Richard Lester's A Hard Day's Night; A Complete Pictorial Record of the Movie, editor J. Phillip di Franco, introduction by Andrew Sarris (Penguin, $6.95). These film books combine hundreds of stills in sequential order with complete dialogue to provide a very thorough recall of what was seen originally on the screen. A flurry of books in this format, devoted to classic films, began appearing a few years ago, then stopped - apparently because of insufficient mass-market appeal. A new marketing strategy may be conjectured from the new, tentative ventures by these two publishers - evidently aimed at a readership somewhat different from those who might be interested in Stagecoach or Frankenstein . Both of these publications deal with films of more than passing interest, both are well produced and armed with considerable critical apparatus.
Scarlett, Rhett, and a Cast of Thousands: The Filming of Gone With the Wind by Roland Flamini (Collier, $5.95). The whole epic story, from the effort to find exactly the right Scarlett to the embittered struggle for the right to says "damn" on film. The 100-plus illustrations (mostly stills from the film) are well reproduced but, remarkably, the text is as absorbing as the pictures.
The Judgment of Deke Hunter, by George V. Higgins (Ballantine, $1.95). After some sidetrips into the less congenial field of Washington fact and fiction, the author of The Friends of Eddie Coyle and The Digger's Game is back in his old, familiar territory: criminals and those who pursue them, in and around Boston. As in the past, his eye for detail and his ear for dialogue are precise and vivid, his story plain and believable, his characters realistic to the point that they would be banal in less skilled hands. This time, the focus is on the family and professional problems of a detective sergeant rather than a petty criminal, and the moral seems to be that hunters and hunted are members of the same animal species.