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School Library Journal
A longtime reader and listener of poetry, actor Lithgow has carefully selected 50 poems, written in English from the Middle Ages to modern day, and presented them in alphabetical rather than chronological order. The result is some interesting contrasts; for example, Gertrude Stein follows Edmund Spenser. Designed to appeal mostly to those new to poetry, this book focuses on well-known poems from such notables as Geoffrey Chaucer, William Wordsworth, Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe, and Ezra Pound. Not forgetting the children, Lithgow also includes Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky" and Edward Lear's "The Owl and the Pussycat." The clearly articulated reading by Lithgow, as well as such "special guests" as Susan Sarandon, Sam Waterston, Morgan Freeman, and Kathy Bates, underscores the importance of poetry being spoken. Lithgow introduces each selection with a short biography of the poet and then follows with an insightful, often personal commentary. This collection will delight listeners, both those new to the genre and those looking for their favorites presented in a fresh, new format.
—Nancy R. Ives
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