From the Publisher
"Enlightening from beginning to end, Poetry Speaks Expanded is a remarkable experience, a wonderful and living addition to any poetry library and a tremendous introduction to the beauties of 20th-century verse." - curledup.com
"One again I have been blessed with the opportunity to review an extraordinary sampling of poetry published by Sourcebooks with their Poetry Speaks Expanded that is a sequel to the first edition Poetry Speaks published in 2001. As with the first edition, Poetry Speaks Expanded includes three CDs, and as I savored these beautiful poems, it reminded me of French poet Charles Baudelaire who wrote, "Anyman can go without food for two days-but not without poetry." " - Bookpleasures.com
"Ever wonder what Alfred, Lord Tennyson sounded like reading his poems? Walt Whitman? Ever wanted to hear Yeats himself read "The Lake Isle of Innisfree?" Here's your chance. Poetry Speaks Expanded is a magnificent anthology of some of the Western world's most important poets, featuring their work as it appears on the printed page and on CD, recorded by the poets themselves. " - Rambles.net
School Library Journal
Poetry Speaks (Sourcebooks, 2001) has been expanded to include James Joyce, Robert Graves, May Swenson, Jack Kerouac, and Ted Hughes. Each of the 47 poets, all deceased, is introduced through a biographical sketch, an essay by a contemporary poet, the text of a few representative poems and, of course, select recordings. The inviting layout and scattering of primary-source material (gems include a handwritten poem on a paper plate by Etheridge Knight and an edited draft of W. H. Auden's "September 1, 1939"), and the invaluable effect of poems read by their creators remain the collection's hallmarks. The experience of listening to Joyce read an excerpt from Finnegans Wake with his thick Irish brogue will inevitably take any dissection of his work to new depths. This volume will continue to prove a playground for poetry lovers and a spark for any literature class.
Jill Heritage MazaCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Read an Excerpt
A poem can change your life. In poems, we discover the words and images to understand and interpret the world. Whether writing birth songs or elegies, love vows or political anthems, lyric outbursts or vast narratives, great poets throughout the ages transform ordinary experience, thought, and emotion into something memorable.
A poet regards the page differently than the prose writer. As the French poet Paul
Valéry wrote, "Poetry is to prose as dancing is to walking." The poet, when writing, considers the borders of a right and left margin and chooses where to begin and end the line. "Verse" derives from the Latin versus, or "turn," as in turn of the plough, furrow, or line of writing. Unlike the prose writer, who will continue writing the sentence until the typewriter or computer pulls the line over to the left margin, the poet "carves" the line onto the page.
Just as poetry differs from prose on the page, poems have a unique power when read aloud. Poets are attuned to sound as they "make" their poems or, in Robert Frost's words, create "the sound of sense." Hearing poetry read aloud, the listener may glimpse the poet's psyche. Recited well, poetry can even mesmerize.
Recall the first time you heard a poem read out loud: perhaps your mother or father recited "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" when you were young. Or maybe, when older, a high school teacher read to the class T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" or Gwendolyn Brooks' "We Real Cool." What if we could hear Eliot or Brooks, Frost or W.B. Yeats recite poems in their own voices? Yeats wrote, "I wanted all my poetry to be spoken on a stage or sung....I have spent my life in clearing out of poetry every phrase written for the eye, and bringing all back to syntax that is for the ear alone." The force of a poem is empowered by the voice behind the poem. I remember the first time I heard Yeats reciting his poetry. I had researched a script for a Bloomsday Joyce/Yeats tribute in New York City. The program concluded with a recording of Yeats reading "The Lake Isle of Innisfree." Although I had studied and written about the poem, it was not until after hearing Yeats's sonorous tone, his inflections and rhythm, that the work gained new dimension. When I later visited the Lake Isle of Innisfree in Ireland, the memory of Yeats's voice reverberated through the landscape. The sound of the author's voice resurrects the poet vividly in the imagination.
Poetry spoken aloud recalls the oral origins of poetry. In every culture, poetry emerges before writing. In traditional Native American societies, poetry was expressed in prayers and ceremonies, as in the Navajo Blessingway Chants. In Babylon, in the early twenty-first century b.c., court entertainers sang for King Shulgi early versions of the Epic of Gilgamesh. During the fifth century b.c. in Greece, Homeric bards recited The Iliad from memory. These early spoken performances have been revived in our own day as we witness the popularity of Slam, Hip Hop, Rap, and Cowboy poetry, as well as more traditional poetry readings.
The force of modern poetry resides in this union of the written and the spoken word. With this insight in mind, we have compiled in Poetry Speaks a collection that features memorable poems of the last century and a half-works that, remarkably, have also been recorded in the poets' own voices. Here is a rare mix of poems for the eye and the ear, where the lover of poetry may act as both reader and listener. We hope that you will discover, in these pages and on these discs, poems that change your life.