Poetry, the most ancient literary art, comes alive here through the most modern of technologies. Nothing beats the sound of the human voice, and nothing reminds us so beautifully of the music as well as the words of the poem as the variety of voices assembled on these discs. The performers on this compilation come in all sizes and shapes, in all vocal tones and timbres. Listeners will be delighted to discover poems they have not heard before. They will be astonished to hear, as if for the first time, old chestnuts that burst into bloom again through unexpected renditions. Best of all, they will be reminded of poems they once knew but have forgotten. Give these cds to everyone you love, especially to those who think they don t like poetry. You will change their lives. --Willard Spiegelman, Hughes Professor of English at Southern Methodist University; editor-in-chief of The Southwest Review; scholar of poetry; author, most recently of, Seven Pleasures: Essays on Ordinary Happiness.
When I was an undergraduate, an English professor said, in passing, a poem a day keeps the doctor away. He meant, I assume, that being regularly exposed to the best that has been thought and written is a universal medicine. This collection helps bring poetry off the page and back into the ear, where it belongs, and hearing it read with such skill is a constant revelation. I have not found myself ever, for instance, since I was forced to in college, deciding to sit down and read Tennyson or Milton, but hearing them read has made me realize what I've been missing. This is the best of the best, read by the best of the best. I plan on listening to this CD every day on my commute and saving a bundle on my mental health bills. --Tom Lutz s books include Doing Nothing, A History of Loafers, Loungers, Slackers, and Bums in America, Crying: A Natural and Cultural History of Tears; American Nervousness, 1903: An Anecdotal History; and Cosmopolitan Vistas. Professor Lutz has taught at
The performers on this CD illuminate the mystery. Beneath the trembling, faux enthusiasm of Donna Lynne Champlin s reading of, A Job Application, or the steely reserve of Charles Busch s, My Last Duchess, there lies the truth of the situation, like a beautiful rock that s been polished smooth by all of the people who have heard before and who have understood. Here we are in 2010: living without the benefit of a unifying popular culture, but with a culture frayed into a million semi-connected strands. How sobering, how comforting it is to be reminded of the notes that bind us. When you hear Emily Skinner say: Love can not fill the thickened lung with breath, Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone; Yet many a man is making friends with death Even as I speak, for lack of love alone. Then you know that is true. And that is enough. --Laurie Winer s reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The LA Times, to name a few.