Poetry Done Right

I love being read to. And I really love hearing poetry read aloud, but only if the reader knows what they’re doing. Poorly-read poetry is…. well, ouchy.

My grandpa Van was from a generation that valued recitation. He could whip out fragments of famous speeches by Churchill and Lincoln with proper authoritative oration. He could bat his eyes at a little me while reciting perfectly Believe Me All Those Endearing Young Charms, and he could really rock The Raven. I miss that, and wish he’d have lived longer in part so I could have appreciated these talents as an adult.

But instead, on this damp gray October morning I listen to others handily recite poetry over my coffee and eggs.

Check it out. If you dig verse/sexy British men, you won’t be sorry. 

Of course Alan Rickman reads a Shakespeare sonnet, and Christopher Walken gets freaking with a stormy version of The Raven, and Tom Waits reads Bukowski like he was born to do…

Tom Hiddelston rocks Auden, Benedict Cumberbatch dominates Kubla Khan, and Ben Whishaw nails Keats’ sad vulnerability. I would expect nothing less from any of them.

But a gorgeous young Dennis Hopper in head-to-toe denim reciting Kipling to Johnny freakin’ Cash? Or Bill Murray reading Wallace Stevens? It’s just too good. If anyone is taking requests, I’d like to hear Viggo Mortenson read Li-Young Lee, Daniel Day-Lewis read Christopher Marlowe, Javier Bardem do Neruda, and James Earl Jones read Yosef Komanyaka. In case anyone is out there listening…


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