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Poetry Speaks Expanded: Hear Poets from Tennyson to Plath Read Their Own Work (Includes 3 Audio CDs)

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"By the time you're done, your biggest problem may be that you wish there was more."

"The definitive anthology of poets reading their own work."

"This grand immersion in poetry follows the best-selling Poetry Speaks (2001) and includes a never-before-published and truly thrilling recording of James Joyce reading "Anna Livia Plurabelle" from Finnegans Wake. Book and CDs work beautifully together, ...

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"By the time you're done, your biggest problem may be that you wish there was more."

"The definitive anthology of poets reading their own work."

"This grand immersion in poetry follows the best-selling Poetry Speaks (2001) and includes a never-before-published and truly thrilling recording of James Joyce reading "Anna Livia Plurabelle" from Finnegans Wake. Book and CDs work beautifully together, kindling deeper appreciation for the transmuting power of poetry, a practice of discipline, skill, and magic."

"...The prose comes to life when read aloud, especially when you hear James Joyce read it himself."

"This tome is a reminder how the human spirit is capable of finding an outlet in oppressive times, how poetry can help explain why we do what we do as a thinking people...Certainly, in our struggle to make sense out of what we do not understand, Poetry Speaks Expanded helps on so many levels." — Carol Hoenig, THE HUFFINGTON POST

"...[A] bountiful experience: there is the thrill of discovery and re-discovery as with any good anthology, with an added emphasis on the poets' personalities and growth" — John Hammond, SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS

"[An] accessible, beautifully executed collection guaranteed to offer poetry fans a memorable reading and listening experience" — WORDCANDY.NET

"...[A]s I savored these beautiful poems, it reminded me of French poet Charles Baudelaire who wrote, 'Any man can go without food for two days - but not without poetry.'" - Norm Goldman, BOOKPLEASURES.COM

"Light[s] up a reader's eyes." - Frank Wilson, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER

Hear And Read All Of These Poets (And More)
244 Poems Included In The Book
107 Poems Read By The Poets Themselves On 3 Audio CDs

Robert Graves, E. E. Cummings, Walt Whitman, Ezra Pound, William Butler Yeats, Gertrude Stein, Carl Sandburg, James Joyce, William Carlos Williams, Ted Hughes, Robinson Jeffers, Philip Larkin, Wallace Stevens, Louise Bogan, Melvin B. Tolson, Laura (Riding) Jackson, Ogden Nash, W. H. Auden, Louis MacNeice, Allen Ginsberg Theodore Roethke, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Hayden, Robert Frost, Muriel Rukeyser, Gwendolyn Brooks, Randall Jarrell, Jack Kerouac, John Berryman, Dylan Thomas, Robert Lowell, Robert Browning, Robert Duncan, May Swenson, John Crowe Ransom

Poetry Speaks Expanded is a fusion of the poet's words with the poet's voice, including text and recordings of nearly 50 of the greatest poets who ever lived, ranging from Walt Whitman, Robert Frost, James Joyce and T. S. Eliot to Langston Hughes, Jack Kerouac, Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes and Gwendolyn Brooks.

"This book has the potential to draw more readers to poetry than any collection in years."

"Readers and listeners are guaranteed to hear poems in a new way after spending time with this book and CD set."

"Superb, accessible....A unique and essential purchase"

—For the first time ever, James Joyce reads "Anna Livia Plurabelle" from Finnegans Wake alongside the original text from the book
—T. S. Eliot reading "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"
—Sylvia Plath's anger and raw emotion as she reads "Daddy" and "Lady Lazarus"
—Jack Kerouac reading from "MacDougal Street Blues," accompanied by Steve Allen on piano
—May Swenson rehearsing "The Watch" prior to a reading
—H. D. reading a part of "Helen in Egypt" from a rare recording made shortly before her death
—Ted Hughes reading "February 17" during a BBC interview
—A never-before-published recording of Alfred, Lord Tennyson reading "The Charge of the Light Brigade"
—W. B. Yeats explaining his reading style and why he chooses to read that way
—Robert Frost reading "The Road Not Taken" and "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"

Essays Written By Today's Most Influential Poets, Including: W. S. Merwin on Robert Graves, Seamus Heaney on W. B. Yeats, Paul Muldoon on James Joyce, Robert Pinsky on William Carlos Williams, Sonia Sanchez on Gwendolyn Brooks, Galway Kinnell on Walt Whitman, Rita Dove on Melvin B. Tolson, Jorie Graham on Elizabeth Bishop and Al Young on Langston Hughes

"The most ambitious, innovative poetry project to be published in years."

A Book Sense Top-10 Selection

Winner of a Mom's Choice Awards -- 2008 Gold Recipient!

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Editorial Reviews

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." -

"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." " -

"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. " -

School Library Journal

Adult/High School
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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402210624
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/17/2007
  • Series: Poetry Speaks Series
  • Edition description: Expanded
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 557,330
  • Product dimensions: 9.76 (w) x 11.28 (h) x 1.35 (d)

Meet the Author

Elise Paschen

Elise Paschen is the author of Houses: Coasts and Infidelities, winner of the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize, and the co-founder of "Poetry in Motion," a nationwide program that places poetry in subways and buses. She is also the editor of the New York Times bestselling Poetry Speaks to Children.

Rebekah Presson Mosby was nominated for a Grammy for her work as producer / editor of the 4CD box set, Poetry on Record: 98 Poets Read Their Work (1888-2006) and also edited the groundbreaking Rhino Records poetry box sets, In Their Own Voices: A Century of Recorded Poetry and Our Souls Have Grown Deep Like the Rivers: Black Poets Read Their Work.

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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.

Elise Paschen

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Table of Contents

Track List -
Note from the Publisher -
Introduction -

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809—1892) -
Anthony Hecht on Alfred, Lord Tennyson
"The Bugle Song"
The Charge of the Light Brigade
Crossing the Bar

Robert Browning (1812—1889) -
Edward Hirsch on Robert Browning
My Last Duchess
Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister
Meeting at Night
How They Brought the Good News from
Ghent to Aix

Walt Whitman (1819—1892) -
Galway Kinnell on Walt Whitman from Song of Myself
Crossing Brooklyn Ferry
Bivouac on a Mountain Side
The Last Invocation

William Butler Yeats (1865—1939) -
Seamus Heaney on William Butler Yeats
The Lake Isle of Innisfree
Adam's Curse
The Second Coming
Among School Children
Sailing to Byzantium
Crazy Jane on the Day of Judgment
Coole Park and Ballylee, 1931

Gertrude Stein (1874—1946) -
C.D. Wright on Gertrude Stein
Christian Berard
She Bowed to Her Brother
If I Told Him

Robert Frost (1874—1963) -
Richard Wilbur on Robert Frost
The Oven Bird
The Road Not Taken
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Nothing Gold Can Stay
To Earthward
The Silken Tent
Come In

Carl Sandburg (1878—1967) -
Rosellen Brown on Carl Sandburg
Cool Tombs
107 from The People, Yes

Wallace Stevens (1879—1955) -
Mark Strand on Wallace Stevens
Fabliau of Florida
Bantams in Pine-Woods
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird
The Idea of Order at Key West
So-And-So Reclining on Her Couch
Not Ideas About the Thing But the Thing Itself

James Joyce (1882-1941)-
Paul Muldoon on James Joyce
Chamber Music II
Chamber Music X
Chamber Music XVIII
She Weeps Over Rahoon
Ecce Puer
Anna Livia Plurabelle from Finnegans Wake

William Carlos Williams (1883—1963) -
Robert Pinsky on William Carlos Williams
Spring and All
To Elsie
The Red Wheelbarrow
A Sort of a Song
To a Poor Old Woman

Ezra Pound (1885—1972) -
Charles Bernstein on Ezra Pound
The River-Merchant's Wife: A Letter
Cantico Del Sole
In a Station of the Metro
Hugh Selwyn Mauberley
XLV from The Cantos

H.D. (1886—1961) -
Rafael Campo on H.D.
Oread from Helen in Egypt

Robinson Jeffers (1887—1962) -
Robert Hass on Robinson Jeffers
Hurt Hawks
The Purse-Seine
The Day Is a Poem (September 19, 1939)
Oh, Lovely Rock
Carmel Point

John Crowe Ransom (1888—1974) -
John Hollander on John Crowe Ransom
Captain Carpenter
Bells for John Whiteside's Daughter
Painted Head
The Equilibrists
Dead Boy

T. S. Eliot (1888—1965) -
Agha Shahid Ali on T. S. Eliot
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
La Figlia Che Piange
Journey of the Magi
Burnt Norton from Four Quartets

Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892—1950) -
Molly Peacock on Edna St. Vincent Millay
First Fig
Love Is Not All: It Is Not Meat nor Drink
I Shall Forget You Presently My Dear
Childhood Is the Kingdom Where Nobody Dies

Dorothy Parker (1893—1967) -
Susan Hahn on Dorothy Parker
One Perfect Rose
News Item
A Pig's-Eye View of Literature
The Lady's Reward

E. E. Cummings (1894—1962) -
Brad Leithauser on E.E. Cummings in Just-
love is a place may i feel said he anyone lived in a pretty how town as freedom is a breakfastfood pity this busy monster

Robert Graves (1895-1985) -
W.S. Merwin on Robert Graves
The Castle
To Juan at the Winter Solstice
Return of the Goddess
Amergin's Charm
With Her Lips Only
The Blue-Fly
A Time of Waiting

Louise Bogan (1897—1970) -
Richard Howard on Louise Bogan
The Daemon
The Sleeping Fury
The Dream
Song for the Last Act

Melvin B. Tolson (1898—1966) -
Rita Dove on Melvin B. Tolson
An Ex-Judge at the Bar
Dark Symphony

Laura (Riding) Jackson (1901—1991) -161
Forrest Gander on Laura (Riding) Jackson
O Vocables of Love
Death as Death
Nothing So Far
Take Hands

Langston Hughes (1902—1967) -
Al Young on Langston Hughes
The Negro Speaks of Rivers
Mother to Son
The Weary Blues
I, Too
Good Morning
Harlem [2]

Ogden Nash (1902—1971) -
Billy Collins on Ogden Nash
The Trouble with Women Is Men
Portrait of the Artist as a Prematurely Old Man
I Do, I Will, I Have
I Must Tell You About My Novel
Laments for a Dying Language

W. H. Auden (1907—1973) -
Dana Gioia on W.H. Auden
O Where Are You Going?
Funeral Blues
As I Walked Out One Evening
In Memory of W.B. Yeats
Musée des Beaux Arts
If I Could Tell You

Louis MacNeice (1907—1963) -
Peter McDonald on Louis MacNeice
Bagpipe Music
Meeting Point
The British Museum Reading Room

Theodore Roethke (1908—1963) -
Joy Harjo on Theodore Roethke
My Papa's Waltz
The Waking
I Knew a Woman
The Sloth
In a Dark Time

Elizabeth Bishop (1911—1979) -
Jorie Graham on Elizabeth Bishop
The Fish
The Map
The Armadillo
Crusoe in England
One Art
In the Waiting Room

May Swenson (1913-1989) -
Grace Shulman on May Swenson
The Watch
At Truro
Orbiter 5 Shows How Earth Looks From the Moon
July 4th
The Woods at Night

Robert Hayden (1913—1980) -
Marilyn Nelson on Robert Hayden
Those Winter Sundays
Frederick Douglass
Homage to the Empress of the Blues
El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X)
Words in the Mourning Time

Muriel Rukeyser (1913—1980) -
Sharon Olds on Muriel Rukeyser
Night Feeding from Letter to the Front
The Poem as Mask
Waiting for Icarus
Ballad of Orange and Grape

William Stafford (1914—1993) -
Robert Bly on William Stafford
The Star in the Hills
Traveling Through the Dark
Passing Remark
Saint Matthew and All
Report to Crazy Horse

Randall Jarrell (1914—1965) -
Peter Sacks on Randall Jarrell
90 North
The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner
Seele im Raum
Next Day

John Berryman (1914—1972) -
Elizabeth Spires on John Berryman
The Ball Poem
4 from The Dream Songs
14 from The Dream Songs
22 from The Dream Songs
"Sole Watchman" from Eleven Addresses to the Lord

Dylan Thomas (1914—1953)-
Glyn Maxwell on Dylan Thomas
And Death Shall Have No Dominion
Fern Hill
Among Those Killed in the Dawn Raid Was a
Man Aged a Hundred
In My Craft or Sullen Art
Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night

Robert Lowell (1917—1977) -
Frank Bidart on Robert Lowell
Skunk Hour
Home After Three Months Away
"To Speak of Woe That Is in Marriage"
For the Union Dead

Gwendolyn Brooks (1917—2000) -
Sonia Sanchez on Gwendolyn Brooks
A Song in the Front Yard kitchenette building
We Real Cool
The Boy Died in My Alley
Speech to the Young

Robert Duncan (1919—1988) -
Michael Palmer on Robert Duncan
Poetry, A Natural Thing
The Structure of Rime i
Often I Am Permitted to Return to a Meadow
The Sentinels

Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) -
Jason Shinder on Jack Kerouac
MacDougal Street Blues: Canto Uno
7th Chorus from Orizaba 210 Blues from Book of Haikus
[Biographical Resume, Fall 1957]
99th Chorus from Mexico City Blues
114th Chorus from Mexico City Blues

Philip Larkin (1922—1985) -
Mary Jo Salter on Philip Larkin
Places, Loved Ones
The Whitsun Weddings
Wild Oats
This Be the Verse
The Old Fools

Denise Levertov (1923—1997) -
Nancy Willard on Denise Levertov
Come Into Animal Presence
The Secret
Talking to Grief
A Woman Alone
Her Sadness

Allen Ginsberg (1926—1997) -
C.K. Williams on Allen Ginsberg
A Supermarket in California

Frank O'Hara (1926—1966) -
David Lehman on Frank O'Hara
Why I Am Not a Painter
Poem (Hate Is Only One of Many Responses)
The Day Lady Died
Ave Maria
Poem (Lana Turner Has Collapsed!)

Anne Sexton (1928—1974) -
Kay Ryan on Anne Sexton
The Truth the Dead Know
Her Kind
The Operation
For My Lover, Returning to His Wife

Ted Hughes (1930-1998) -
Christopher Reid on Ted Hughes
The Thought-Fox
The Howling of Wolves
Crow's First Lesson
February 17
A Pink Wool Knitted Dress

Etheridge Knight (1931—1991) -
Elizabeth Alexander on Etheridge Knight
The Idea of Ancestry
Hard Rock Returns to Prison from the Hospital for the Criminal Insane
Belly Song
Dark Prophecy: I Sing of Shine
The Violent Space

Sylvia Plath (1932—1963) -
Anne Stevenson on Sylvia Plath
Morning Song
I Am Vertical
Lady Lazarus

Index -
About the Contributors -
Acknowledgments -
Permissions -
Audio Credits -
Photo Credits -

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 28, 2011

    excellent book

    I bought this book for my father, who has low vision. He loves poetry and I bought it mainly because it came with the CD's, and I thought he would enjoy hearing the different poets read their works. He absolutely loves this book. He was able to put the book under his reader machine and he says it is all very interesting and gives explanations of the poets, their biographies and everything. He said that to read that, he gets a better understanding of the poems on the audio portion.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 20, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Poetry Speaks Expanded is a recipient of the prestigious Mom's C

    Poetry Speaks Expanded is a recipient of the prestigious Mom's Choice Award. The Mom’s Choice Awards honors excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. An esteemed panel of judges includes education, media and other experts as well as parents, children, librarians, performing artists, producers, medical and business professionals, authors, scientists and others. A sampling of the panel members includes: Dr. Twila C. Liggett, ten-time Emmy-winner, professor and founder of PBS’s Reading Rainbow; Julie Aigner-Clark, Creator of Baby Einstein and The Safe Side Project; Jodee Blanco, New York Times best-selling Author and; LeAnn Thieman, motivational speaker and coauthor of seven Chicken Soup For The Soul books. Parents and educators look for the Mom’s Choice Awards seal in selecting quality materials and products for children and families.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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