RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewSomething of a grab bag ... The new volume includes a large gathering of literary portraits, as in the earlier book, and a previously unpublished gathering of odds and ends, mostly memoir material from manuscripts ... Memoirs is anchored by \'My Autobiography,\' which takes the reader to Lowell’s early adulthood ... It makes for excellent reading, whatever your feelings (or lack of feelings) about the poet or the man ... \'My Autobiography\' makes up about 40 percent of Memoirs and is easily the best writing in the book. Lowell was always a capable prose writer, but the language on display in this childhood memoir is a good deal more than that. Lowell could be a superb portraitist when he chose to be, and the parade of characters passing through his household (several of whom appear separately in his poems) is memorable and delightful ... Were Lowell nearly as cruel in his rather anodyne and flattering portraits of his literary mentors, friends and epigones, the \'Life Among Writers\' section of Memoirs would be immeasurably more interesting ... \'My Autobiography\' sat in Lowell’s desk drawer for decades, unpublished and unread until Giroux plucked two more of its chapters and combined them for an essay in Collected Prose. It deserves a wider audience. Taken as a whole, \'My Autobiography\' is nothing less than a treasure in the literary memoir genre.
MixedThe New York TimesMr. Ratliff leans toward nontechnical terms and unshowy language, which he then nudges toward the profound or revealing. Sometimes that works brilliantly. Other times, the effect falls somewhere between cute and clever ... A larger problem with Every Song Ever is that its premise starts to fade from view — starts to seem like a pretext, in fact, for a fragmented miscellany of meditations on music that Mr. Ratliff likes.