The Drawings of Bruno Schulz, edited and with an introduction by Jerzy Ficowski (Northwestern, $24.95; cloth, $59.95). Over the past 10 or 15 years Bruno Schulz has emerged as one of the greatest of modern European writers, best known for Street of Crocodiles and Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass, lyrical, comic, slightly Kafkaesque accounts of life with father in a Polish village. Schulz was murdered during the war and much of his work -- including perhaps his masterpiece, The Messiah -- was lost. Ficowski has spent his life tracking down Schulz material, enabling him to edit the The Letters and Drawings of Bruno Schulz and this new book. Some of the drawings here are glimpses of Jewish family life, but far more are dark, expressionistic images of Schulz debasing himself before prostitutes. Not particularly pleasant pictures, they nonetheless are powerfully drawn and are useful to our understanding of this haunting writer.
Conversations with Raymond Carver, edited by Marshall Bruce Gentry and William L. Stull (University Press of Mississippi, $14.95). Raymond Carver was the most influential and admired short-story writer of the 1980s, a quiet-spoken man who wrote about working-class people with an enormous authority. That authority was earned, as these 25 interviews make clear, by Carver's own often desperate early life, one marked by low-paying jobs and a serious drinking problem. These interviews -- the latest in a useful series from the University Press of Mississippi -- touch on that life, Carver's long apprenticeship (his teachers included novelist John Gardner and editor Gordon Lish), his artistic principles, such collections as Cathedral, and his final years with poet Tess Gallagher before his death from cancer at age 50.
Land of Hope: Chicago, Black Southerners, and the Great Migration, by James R. Grossman (University of Chicago Press, $14.95). When World War I abruptly cut off the stream of European immigrants to America, the factory owners of the northern industrial belt started recruiting southern blacks to come north and work in their factories. Between 1916 and 1919 about 500,000 blacks went north and another million followed in the 1920s. Many settled in Chicago, whose black population reached 110,000 by 1920. This elegantly researched history captures the cultural meaning of the population shift, so critical for the country's future, for tens of thousands of persons whose names are not famous.
Pleasures of a Tangled Life, by Jan Morris (Vintage, $12.95). All lives are tangled, but Morris's has been, at times, a regular Gordian knot. After decades of guilt and indecision, historian and travel writer James Morris decided that he should be Jan Morris, and in mid-life, mid-career and mid-family, underwent a sex change. That decision is chronicled in Conundrum; this book -- a collection of essays -- chronicles the more sedate pleasures and passions of this cultivated writer. Morris reflects on her house, a favorite city, books, cats, success and much else, all in a prose of great clarity and easy elegance.
Sunflower Splendor: Three Thousand Years of Chinese Poetry, edited by Wu-Chi Liu and Irving Yucheng Lo (Indiana University Press, $19.95; cloth, $37.50). When this book was first published, reviewers acclaimed it as the best one-volume edition of Chinese poetry available. Its 600 pages provide a brief history of lyric poetry in China, short biographies of the 50 or so practitioners represented, useful notes, and excellent translations by divers hands. Open to any page and listen to the still, sad music: "Autumn winds whistle sadly, the air grows chill . . ." (Ts'ao Chih) or "A lone boat, a sliver of moon facing the maple woods . . ." (Li Po).
Christopher Smart: Selected Poems, edited by Karina Williamson and Marcus Walsh (Penguin, $9.95). Christopher Smart (1722-1771) is largely remembered for two works: His winning poem in praise of his cat Jeffrey (a section of "Jubilate Agno"), and the rolling, thunderous "Song of David," which ends with the thrilling lines, "And now the matchless deed's achieved,/ DETERMINED, DARED, and DONE." Smart suffered from madness and wrote much of his best work while incarcerated, which may partly account for its obsessive, original flavor. There's no sense of Augustan measure here. Williamson and Marcus edited the standard Oxford edition of Smart and for this Penguin selection have included a long introduction and useful notes.
The Serpent's Mark, by Robert L. Duncan (St. Martin's, $4.95). It's serial-killer time again. The perp (police lingo for perpetrator) styles himself "D" and uses a photo of a severed finger as a calling card. The recipient of the grisly picture is Peter Stein, aka "The Monster Catcher" because of his uncanny ability to find patterns in the seemingly random strikes of those who kill and kill again. As Stein travels from his base in West Virginia to D's area of mayhem in Las Vegas, a Catholic priest who has heard D's confession wrestles with the dilemma of whether to make a situation-ethics exception to the sacred code of secrecy.