I stumbled cross a wonderful book this week; its premise simple, transparent, and purposeful.
The Poet’s Corner is a compilation of favorite poems assembled by actor John Lithgow, a life-long poetry lover and enthusiast. Subtitled The One-And-Only Poetry Book for the Whole Family, the volume delivers more than it promises.
So much poetic ground is covered between the covers: Blake, Ginsberg, Keats, Nash, Poe, Shakespeare; 50 poets presented in a fashion that will easily capture your attention and interest.
There is no new work, and some of the poems you may know well but have not read in quite some time (it was Lear’s The Owl and the Pussy-Cat for me), but the presentation is unique, accessible, and sure to recharge your interest in poetry.
Each of the selected poems provides a little history of the poet and the era or circumstance, Lithgow’s brief, yet effective commentary, and titles of a few other suggested poems by the writer.
“My brief comments reflect what the poems have meant for me, but they speak far more resonantly for themselves,” Lithgow says in the introduction.
The work is not presented in a scholarly tone, but from the viewpoint of a man who grew up listening to his grandmother and father recite poetry. This is the type of book you can pick up at any time and be drawn into the words, the stories and the rhythm of life.
“Each poem’s light shines more brightly when read aloud,” Lithgow writes in the introduction, and with the book we are treated to a CD with the 50 poems read by the actor and his friends.
Included are the voices of Glenn Close, Morgan Freeman, Jodie Foster, Helen Mirren, Gary Sinise, and even master poet Billy Connolly reading Lear and Lowell.
This is a delightful package that will allow you to explore, discover and rediscover poetry, and all it can mean to you.
The Poet’s Corner,
The One-And-Only Poetry Book For the Whole Family, was published in 2007 by Grand Central Publishing and is well-worth searching out.