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Poetry Speaks: Hear Great Poets Read Their Work from Tennyson to Plath

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Poetry Speaks features the work of the most influential writers in modern poetry-written and performed-from 1892 to 1997. This book combines their most significant poems in print with the authors themselves reading their poetry on audio CD. Poets range from Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Walt Whitman, T.S. Eliot and Dorothy Parker to Langston Hughes, Allen Ginsberg, Sylvia Plath a Poetry Speaks features the work of the most influential writers in modern poetry-written and performed-from 1892 to 1997. This book combines their most significant poems in print with the authors themselves reading their poetry on audio CD. Poets range from Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Walt Whitman, T.S. Eliot and Dorothy Parker to Langston Hughes, Allen Ginsberg, Sylvia Plath and Gwendolyn Brooks. The power of spoken poetry is at the heart of Poetry Speaks. Poetry is a vocal art, an art meant to be read aloud. Listening to a poem read aloud can be a transforming experience. Poetry Speaks not only introduces the finest work from some of the greatest poets who ever lived, it reintroduces the oral tradition of poetry. Poetry Speaks features over 40 poets in chapters each containing: ? The poems that are read by the poet on the audio CD ? Additional poems in print form to allow the reader to further explore the poet ? A short biography and photo of each poet ? Original manuscripts and letters for most of the featured poets ? An original essay for each poet written by today's most influential poets, a veritable Who's Who of poetry, including: Seamus Heaney on W.B. Yeats; Richard Wilbur on Robert Frost; Mark Strand on Wallace Stevens; Jorie Graham on Elizabeth Bishop; Glyn Maxwell on Dylan Thomas; and Rita Dove on Melvin B. Tolson. Poetry Speaks-combining the talents of great poets past and living, their words written and spoken-is the most ambitious, comprehensive and innovative poetry project to be published in years, and is sure to be the model for collections to come.


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Poetry Speaks features the work of the most influential writers in modern poetry-written and performed-from 1892 to 1997. This book combines their most significant poems in print with the authors themselves reading their poetry on audio CD. Poets range from Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Walt Whitman, T.S. Eliot and Dorothy Parker to Langston Hughes, Allen Ginsberg, Sylvia Plath a Poetry Speaks features the work of the most influential writers in modern poetry-written and performed-from 1892 to 1997. This book combines their most significant poems in print with the authors themselves reading their poetry on audio CD. Poets range from Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Walt Whitman, T.S. Eliot and Dorothy Parker to Langston Hughes, Allen Ginsberg, Sylvia Plath and Gwendolyn Brooks. The power of spoken poetry is at the heart of Poetry Speaks. Poetry is a vocal art, an art meant to be read aloud. Listening to a poem read aloud can be a transforming experience. Poetry Speaks not only introduces the finest work from some of the greatest poets who ever lived, it reintroduces the oral tradition of poetry. Poetry Speaks features over 40 poets in chapters each containing: ? The poems that are read by the poet on the audio CD ? Additional poems in print form to allow the reader to further explore the poet ? A short biography and photo of each poet ? Original manuscripts and letters for most of the featured poets ? An original essay for each poet written by today's most influential poets, a veritable Who's Who of poetry, including: Seamus Heaney on W.B. Yeats; Richard Wilbur on Robert Frost; Mark Strand on Wallace Stevens; Jorie Graham on Elizabeth Bishop; Glyn Maxwell on Dylan Thomas; and Rita Dove on Melvin B. Tolson. Poetry Speaks-combining the talents of great poets past and living, their words written and spoken-is the most ambitious, comprehensive and innovative poetry project to be published in years, and is sure to be the model for collections to come.

30 review for Poetry Speaks: Hear Great Poets Read Their Work from Tennyson to Plath

  1. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    Vital if for no other reason than the fact that there are so many amazing poets reading their work in what are often rare, ancient, crackly and precious recordings. Most of this stuff is widely available on record, of course, but it's pretty comprehensive and wide-ranging. There's nothing quite like hearing the poet read their own work aloud, either, and there's nothing better than the thrill that you get when you hear the way their voice shivers or cracks or trembles when they read a particu Vital if for no other reason than the fact that there are so many amazing poets reading their work in what are often rare, ancient, crackly and precious recordings. Most of this stuff is widely available on record, of course, but it's pretty comprehensive and wide-ranging. There's nothing quite like hearing the poet read their own work aloud, either, and there's nothing better than the thrill that you get when you hear the way their voice shivers or cracks or trembles when they read a particular line or phrase out loud. Perfect for both wanna be poets and for people who "don't get poetry"... Realized that I made the silly move of praising hearing actual, live recordings of various genius poets without actually including some. Well, let's not stand on ceremony... W.B. Yeats: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2FT4_... Wallace Stevens: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfeAMQ... T.S. Eliot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCVnuE... Dylan Thomas: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQiZof... W.H. Auden: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpblaB... Langston Hughes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zdmp5l... Anne Sexton: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uxv7d... Elizabeth Bishop: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWvqO6...

  2. 4 out of 5

    J

    This book is ridiculously large. It's meant to adorn your coffee table and I guess that's okay. You'll look smart. The CDs are the thing though. "We think of poetry as words on a page. But it is in the poet's own voice - in the rhythms, inflections and intonations - where the poem comes alive and the words take on the power and passion of the poet." This book is ridiculously large. It's meant to adorn your coffee table and I guess that's okay. You'll look smart. The CDs are the thing though. "We think of poetry as words on a page. But it is in the poet's own voice - in the rhythms, inflections and intonations - where the poem comes alive and the words take on the power and passion of the poet."

  3. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    Poetry Speaks is a collection of dead poets (so that their entire body of work could be considered) who were recorded reading their own work. (The earliest recordings are from the end of the 19th century: Tennyson, Browning, & Whitman.) Not every poem is included on the accompanying CDs, and after my ancient CD player started crapping out on me, I turned to YouTube to find recordings, which lead to some interesting finds, like multiple recordings of Allen Ginsberg reading "Howl," with completely Poetry Speaks is a collection of dead poets (so that their entire body of work could be considered) who were recorded reading their own work. (The earliest recordings are from the end of the 19th century: Tennyson, Browning, & Whitman.) Not every poem is included on the accompanying CDs, and after my ancient CD player started crapping out on me, I turned to YouTube to find recordings, which lead to some interesting finds, like multiple recordings of Allen Ginsberg reading "Howl," with completely different inflections. (I much prefer young & earnest Ginsberg in this respect.) Also included are biographical information about each poet and an essay by a contemporary poet, the style, content, & quality of which vary wildly. I "won" this book at an education workshop at least 15 years ago. I used the CDs when I was still teaching high school, to bring to life the poems in common between this anthology and the literature textbooks I used. (That was pre-YouTube, where most of these recordings and more are now available.) This was, however, the first time I actually read through the entire anthology (the beginning of my resolution to read more poetry), and it ended up being an even bigger undertaking than I'd expected. Of the poets included in this anthology, I plan to read more from the following. (*indicates a poet who wasn't familiar to me before reading this anthology): Walt Whitman W.B. Yeats Robert Frost (later poems) William Carlos Williams *Robinson Jeffers T.S. Eliot (The Wasteland, Prufrock and Other Poems) Edna St. Vincent Millay Dorothy Parker e.e. cummings Langston Hughes (esp. Let America Be America Again: And Other Poems) W.H. Auden *Louis MacNeice Elizabeth Bishop (complete poems) Robert Hayden (late poems) *Muriel Rukesyer *William Stafford Denise Levertov Allen Ginsberg Anne Sexton (esp. Transformations)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

    It's hard to fully communicate how much I love this anthology and accompanying audio CDs. I get the chills every time I hear Carl Sandburg reading his own poem "Grass." What an almost-operatic crescendo he creates on some of those rhythmic phrases! And it's fantastic listening to Langston Hughes read the marvelous "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," or Dorothy Parker's dry wit in her rendition of "One Perfect Rose." Yes, it's superlative on its own, but with the audio soundtrack of many of the poems i It's hard to fully communicate how much I love this anthology and accompanying audio CDs. I get the chills every time I hear Carl Sandburg reading his own poem "Grass." What an almost-operatic crescendo he creates on some of those rhythmic phrases! And it's fantastic listening to Langston Hughes read the marvelous "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," or Dorothy Parker's dry wit in her rendition of "One Perfect Rose." Yes, it's superlative on its own, but with the audio soundtrack of many of the poems in the anthology, it's utterly masterful.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Steve Willey

    Very interesting book. The narration by Charles Osgood is excellent. I am not sure what I expected from each of the poets. Whatever I expected was very different than what I heard in the recorded readings of each of the poets. I think I would have to read a lot more about each of these poets to really understand their poetry...... I am glad I listened to the three CDs but I will not be likely to revisit the material for more.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mari McR

    What a gift it is to hear the actual poets themselves read their own poetry!!! I can read this book over and over with the author's voice accompanying each line. The only reason I did not give it 5-stars: t I wish the book added the authors' more famous poems...in some cases the book included them, others not. Poetry Speaks can easily double in size. What a gift it is to hear the actual poets themselves read their own poetry!!! I can read this book over and over with the author's voice accompanying each line. The only reason I did not give it 5-stars: t I wish the book added the authors' more famous poems...in some cases the book included them, others not. Poetry Speaks can easily double in size.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bridget Aleshire

    amazing to hear some old poets reading their own work, some I didn't know there were recordings of at that time period. More than a book. amazing to hear some old poets reading their own work, some I didn't know there were recordings of at that time period. More than a book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    David Haggett

    You can hear the voices Robert Browning and Alfred, Lord Tennyson and possibly a recording of Walt Whitman, plus the voices of many other poets. :)

  9. 5 out of 5

    James Henderson

    Those Winter Sundays Sundays too my father got up early and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold, then with cracked hands that ached from labor in the weekday weather made banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him. I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking. When the rooms were warm, he’d call, and slowly I would rise and dress, fearing the chronic angers of that house, Speaking indifferently to him, who had driven out the cold and polished my good shoes as well. What did I know, what did I know o Those Winter Sundays Sundays too my father got up early and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold, then with cracked hands that ached from labor in the weekday weather made banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him. I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking. When the rooms were warm, he’d call, and slowly I would rise and dress, fearing the chronic angers of that house, Speaking indifferently to him, who had driven out the cold and polished my good shoes as well. What did I know, what did I know of love’s austere and lonely offices? This is a wonderful collection of poetry with the added attraction of spoken verse. Each poet reads their own poetry as recorded on three CDs. The poets included range from the early nineteenth century with Tennyson, Browning, and Whitman to the late twentieth with Ginsberg, Sexton, and Plath. Some of my favorite poems are included from poets like Wallace Stevens, W. H. Auden, and Dylan Thomas. The introductions and commentary by some of our finest poets complement the verses making them all the more valuable and perhaps just a bit more understandable. The above poem, by Robert Hayden, is just one example of the great poetry included in this volume.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Zaahir

    Poetry Speaks by Elise Paschen is an non-fictional book about various authors. The book tells about all the authors back round, their accomplishments, and the school they went to. It shows authors authors from Robert Browning to Walter Whiteman. Its shows authors poetry. Also it has a CD to go along with the book. There was 3 things I like about this book. First, thing I liked about this book is how it gave facts in chronological order. Secondly, I liked about this book is how it got people to Poetry Speaks by Elise Paschen is an non-fictional book about various authors. The book tells about all the authors back round, their accomplishments, and the school they went to. It shows authors authors from Robert Browning to Walter Whiteman. Its shows authors poetry. Also it has a CD to go along with the book. There was 3 things I like about this book. First, thing I liked about this book is how it gave facts in chronological order. Secondly, I liked about this book is how it got people to speak about the authors it self. My last thing is how they gave the authors work in the book. I got a chance to see what a real poem looks like. This book is the best book I ever read. I recommend this book to all children and adults. Its never to late to learn some good poetry. This book will have you planted to your seat and all you will want to do is keep on reading. I rate this book a 5 star. -Zaahir Matthews

  11. 4 out of 5

    Donna Merritt

    This is a must-have volume for poetry lovers. Not only do you get to read about the lives of the best 20th century poets, but you get to hear them reading their own work on three CDs. It's amazing. In addition, I loved learning new things through the biographical sketches on each poet. Also a plus were the personal essays from some of today's best-known poets—though some were a bit too analytical (I liked the personal insights best, such as the piece on Muriel Rukeyser by Sharon Olds) and some I This is a must-have volume for poetry lovers. Not only do you get to read about the lives of the best 20th century poets, but you get to hear them reading their own work on three CDs. It's amazing. In addition, I loved learning new things through the biographical sketches on each poet. Also a plus were the personal essays from some of today's best-known poets—though some were a bit too analytical (I liked the personal insights best, such as the piece on Muriel Rukeyser by Sharon Olds) and some I thought could have been researched a bit better (had Molly Peacock read SAVAGE BEAUTY by Nancy Milford, I doubt she would think of Edna St. Vincent Millay's childhood days as "ideal.") If you are in need of a poetry fix, read POETRY SPEAKS.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ahenobarbus

    My debt to this volume & its CDs is immeasurable. It shifted my sights (at the whelp's age of just-seventeen) from a tail-chase amid the Confessionalists & introduced me to the Modernists, particularly the trine that would revise my poetics, guide my future academic pursuits, rule me, advance me: Pound, H. D., Eliot. It also seeded my eventual deep admiration for Berryman some eleven years later. I still listen to the included recordings & find myself occasionally chanting staves of Roethke's "I My debt to this volume & its CDs is immeasurable. It shifted my sights (at the whelp's age of just-seventeen) from a tail-chase amid the Confessionalists & introduced me to the Modernists, particularly the trine that would revise my poetics, guide my future academic pursuits, rule me, advance me: Pound, H. D., Eliot. It also seeded my eventual deep admiration for Berryman some eleven years later. I still listen to the included recordings & find myself occasionally chanting staves of Roethke's "I Knew a Woman", muttering the weary drag of Lowell's "The Old Flame", though both poets are otherwise cloudy in my mind.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    You know how you go to a new restaurant and ALL the appetizers sound delicious and you can't decide which to try, so you order the sampler platter and it's really good for what it is? Some of the poets leave you ravenous for more, and others make you wish you'd never taken a bite of them... but at least now you know. That's what this book is - an introduction to poetry. Although some of the earlier recordings (ie Tennyson) are of horrible audio quality, it's electrifying to hear their garbled vo You know how you go to a new restaurant and ALL the appetizers sound delicious and you can't decide which to try, so you order the sampler platter and it's really good for what it is? Some of the poets leave you ravenous for more, and others make you wish you'd never taken a bite of them... but at least now you know. That's what this book is - an introduction to poetry. Although some of the earlier recordings (ie Tennyson) are of horrible audio quality, it's electrifying to hear their garbled voices.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    Got about halfway through this and wanted a break. It's dense and really interesting but Maxine Kumin's "Where I Live" has been calling me from the shelf at the library for weeks now. Oh, and the audio is not what I would call an enhancement--more often than not the readings are weird or disturbing due to either poor quality (for the very earliest recordings, obviously) or to the "performance" of the poet him/herself. Got about halfway through this and wanted a break. It's dense and really interesting but Maxine Kumin's "Where I Live" has been calling me from the shelf at the library for weeks now. Oh, and the audio is not what I would call an enhancement--more often than not the readings are weird or disturbing due to either poor quality (for the very earliest recordings, obviously) or to the "performance" of the poet him/herself.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bob

    This got some press when released in 2001. Although the book is hefty and well-designed, it is the three audio cds with the artists reading their own works that make it worth the investment. Includes audio of Whitman, Pound, Yeats, Hughes, Plath, Sexton, and many others. Some of the voices, like OHara, strike you and some, like Auden, disappoint.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

    I love this anthology because it comes with three CD's that have recordings of the different poets reading the poems featured in the text. The selection of poetry is good, and the recordings questioned my previous interpretations of the poetry. It's a refreshing and invigorating look at the classics. I love this anthology because it comes with three CD's that have recordings of the different poets reading the poems featured in the text. The selection of poetry is good, and the recordings questioned my previous interpretations of the poetry. It's a refreshing and invigorating look at the classics.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    As poetry is meant to be heard, this anthology is music to your ears! Listen and experience poetry read aloud by the author. Some of the old and crackly recordings are a little creepy (like Alfred, Lord Tennyson), but some others allow you to experience your favorite poem the way it was meant to be ingested.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    It was interesting to hear famous poets read their own works (even though some are not as eloquent as one would expect - ex. Robert Frost was monotone and rather unexpressive!) It has enough poets and poems that it would take many months to work through... I need another library loan or two or three to get to the authors I wanted to read/hear!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Terence Manleigh

    How eerie and wonderful to hear the scratchy old recordings of Tennyson and Browning and Whitman, the clipped English-like tones of early 20th century American poets like Stein and cummings and Stevens and Frost, the searing and emotional readings of Lowell and Sexton and the caustic rage of Sylvia Plath...a wonderful collection and resource.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kipahni

    I am not a fan of poetry. but I loved this book for hearing the poets speak there own words made me love poetry. As one author put it " you can learn to like something by watching someone else love it." that is my similar reaction to this book I am not a fan of poetry. but I loved this book for hearing the poets speak there own words made me love poetry. As one author put it " you can learn to like something by watching someone else love it." that is my similar reaction to this book

  21. 5 out of 5

    angrykitty

    ok.....the really awesome part of this book, aside from the fact that it containes some really calssic poems, is that it also comes with a cd with the poems read. i've taught poetry before, and this has come in really handy. ok.....the really awesome part of this book, aside from the fact that it containes some really calssic poems, is that it also comes with a cd with the poems read. i've taught poetry before, and this has come in really handy.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Matt Smith

    Worth 4 stars because you DO actually get to hear the pieces read by the poets themselves. the 5th star is for Walt Whitman's voice being available as well. It's haunting to think you're hearing his voice reading to you from as far back as 1860-something. Worth 4 stars because you DO actually get to hear the pieces read by the poets themselves. the 5th star is for Walt Whitman's voice being available as well. It's haunting to think you're hearing his voice reading to you from as far back as 1860-something.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    This was like a poetry immersion class and I wanted to retry the classic poets and poems and hear their voices reading their poems. Nothing inspired me like a Mary Oliver poem, none even came close. But it was interesting... The first CD was missing so I am disappointed I missed Walk Whitman.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    In honor of National Poetry Month I downloaded all 3 CDs... it's trippy to try and listen to Tennyson or some of the early recordings but it sends chills up my spine just the same. And I finally found that one poem from Poetry 101!! It's by Roethke. In honor of National Poetry Month I downloaded all 3 CDs... it's trippy to try and listen to Tennyson or some of the early recordings but it sends chills up my spine just the same. And I finally found that one poem from Poetry 101!! It's by Roethke.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Kind of too coffee-table for my tastes, but it comes with 3 CDs of readings, from Tennyson to Plath.

  26. 4 out of 5

    MBC

    I really want to love this book more than I do. The concept is great--poems read by the poets--but I still wander away from it every time I try to listen. Maybe I'm just a philistine. I really want to love this book more than I do. The concept is great--poems read by the poets--but I still wander away from it every time I try to listen. Maybe I'm just a philistine.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    A really fun multi-media experience, but only dead poets. Bummer man.

  28. 5 out of 5

    John

    Again, it's poetry. Very neat to hear Whitman speak. Also Wiliam Carlos Williams reads "The Red Wheelbarrow" for some reason thats one of the only poems I can remember from school, but I love it. Again, it's poetry. Very neat to hear Whitman speak. Also Wiliam Carlos Williams reads "The Red Wheelbarrow" for some reason thats one of the only poems I can remember from school, but I love it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    It is incredible to actually hear people like Robert Frost, Sylvia Plath, even Walt Whitman read their own poetry. This book/cd set is something to experience

  30. 5 out of 5

    Vicki

    Very cool book. The selection is good, and it is interesting to hear the poems read by their authors.

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