Poetry is so much more interesting to listen to than to read, unless one is in love with the sound of one's own voice, that this must be a purely rhetorical question.
John Lithgow's grandmother. And the Jumblies. After all, they went to sea in a sieve, they did!
Lithgow doing the bulk of the reading makes this less of a book than a long conversation with the author. As to the guests, they could not have been more perfectly suited. Billy Connolly stood out as particularly exceptional reading "To a Mouse" and "The Owl and the Pussycat." In the first case, the only other potential reader that comes to mind seems a bit too serious for a poem about a "Wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie." In the second, Connolly's humor is perfectly suited to the task.
Third Poet from the Sun
John Lithgow reads well and selected some interesting poems - but the overall work is too much about him and his opinions. I found it hard to even listen to the poems because of his editorializing introductions. The name and date and name and dates of the author would have been sufficient, and then he could have grouped his comments into separate sections that people could have listened to without having them overshadow the poems.
The selection of poems was good.
His narration was fine, but his lengthy commentary was intrusive.
Lithgow reads well and offered a good selection.
There are so few recorded collections of poetry available on the market that it was frustrating to hear one that could have been good marred by being turned into verbal lit crit.
Some of the modern poems were so awful, I wanted to cry, but the rest were so good, it made up for it.
Lithgow expertly introduces 50 prominent poets. They are presented alphabetically and samples of their poetry are narrated by Hollywood stars such as Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Jodie Foster, etc.
I suppose the word “family” is in the title because there is some nonsense poetry included and because of Lithgow’s grandfatherly tone. But if I were trying to introduce my children to poetry, this is not the selection I would choose because of the inclusion of modern poetry with its clunky rythms and obtuse meanings. (If someone has to explain a poem to you before you can like it, you have already missed much of the magic, soul-touching quality of poetry.)
If I had known how much modern poetry was in this audiobook, I probably would not have purchased it. On the other hand, I was glad to have such a painless, crash course on the “greats” of Western poetry. I even learned to appreciate the talents of several poets that I hadn’t liked before. I had hoped for more classic poetry and couldn’t find a list before buying, so I'm including a list here for future buyers:
Matthew Arnold (1822-1888)
W.H. Auden (1907-1973)
John Berryman (1914-1972)
Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979)
William Blake (1757-1827)
Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000)
Elizabeth Barrett Browning(1806-1861)
Robert Burns (1759-1796)
Lord Byron (1788-1824)
Lewis Carroll (1831-1898)
Geoffrey Chaucer (1342-1400?)
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)
Hart Crane (1899-1932)
E.E. Cummings (1894-1962)
Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
John Donne (1572-1631)
T.S. Eliot (1888-1965)
Robert Frost (18874-1963)
William S. Gilbert (1836-1911)
Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997)
Robert Herrick (1591-1674)
Gerard Manley Hopkins(1844-1889)
A.E. Houseman (1859-1936)
Langston Hughes (1902-1967)
Randall Jarrell (1914-1965)
Ben Johnson (1572-1657)
John Keats (1795-1821)
Philip Larkin (1922-1985)
Edward Lear (1812-1888)
Henry W. Longfellow (1807-1882)
Robert Lowell (1917-1977)
Andrew Marvell (1621-1678)
Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1915)
Marianne Moore (1887-1972)
Ogden Nash (1902-1971)
Dorothy Parker (1893-1967)
Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849)
Ezra Pound (1885-1972)
Christina Rosetti (1830-1894)
Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Percy B. Shelley (1792-1822)
Edmund Spencer (1552-1599)
Gertrude Stein (1874-1946)
Wallace Stevens (1879-1955)
Dylan Thomas (1914-1953)
Walt Whitman (1819-1892)
William Carlos Williams (1883-1963)
Willam Wordsworth (1770-1850)
William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
Audible obsessed lifelong learner.
An eclectic collection of poets make up this book. I enjoyed the guest readers who did a great job of giving life to the readings. Lithgow's love for poetry comes through as he gives his personal history of reading poetry and then proceeds to give a brief review of each poet. It is certainly a collection I will listen to from time to time.
Amy Life long avid reader, especially of poetry, literary and popular fiction, historical fiction, mystery/suspense, and some non-fiction.
I like John Lithgow, and his prologue describing his early years of discovering poetry through the orange covered Childcraft books resonated with me, since this was also my experience.
I like to listen to poetry, not have it's meaning explained to me. I would suggest that John Lithgow do his next "Poetry Corner" as an anthology similar to Garrison' Keillor's "Good Poems" and just share his favorite poems with us.
Strong, clear, and dramatic readers.
I felt disappointed, because my expectation was for a book of John Lithgow and others reading poetry, not having Lithgow explaining the history and life of the poets in each section. For every two poems there was extensive explanation.of the poets and their poems. I felt like I was at a poetry lecture.
Anyone who would like to know the background and history of the poets presented will find this book to be impressive and well researched. Anyone who simply wants to listen to poetry will have to put up with a lot of excess verbiage.
Jana P. Grammy of 7 boys, Mom of 3 daughters, 1 son Lover of books & better eye sight.
There is absolutely something enchanting & rather intoxicating about John Lithgow's voice. His narration is reminiscent of 'dear ole Dad' giving a bit of information about each piece & it's author; but never too much too bore, yet enough to enlighten & entice you to want more.
The kids actually WANT to hear it so much so that we now have a nightly 'read'. The poetry is always varied, making it always new sounding & exciting to young & older ears alike. It's a wonderful thing to be able to say "the kids want to hear poetry each night"! It's kind of funny, I always feel like I'm "tricking" people into believing this, as if maybe I'm referring to some children's stories that can be considered poetry. Not the case! This is the real deal, with poets both old & new. They have even looked up different poets after hearing them in this to hear more of their works. Now if that's not an EXCELLENT poetry book, to inspire even the youngest of us, what is?
Thank-you for such a great 'book', the memorable nights, & opening the children's minds to thoroughly enjoy poetry!
I hope this helps you, & you give a listen. (Click Yes below if it helps you decide-thanks:)
You will enjoy this. I listened all the way through and then started over again.
My favorite "character" is John Lithgow. His intelligence and humor suffuse the collection.
I loved this audiobook. John Lithgow is erudite and funny. The collection is not comprehensive. How could it be? It's Lithgow's personal favorites, arranged in alphabetical order by poet's last name. No theme. No survey of development. Just lovely poems, one after another, with Lithgow's commentary in between.
I loved listening to this book for the language of poetry.
Listening to John Lithgow's stories of his grandmother reciting poetry.
The poem about the carriage that broke down on its' 100th birthday.
This is a great book for getting people interested in poetry again.
I recommend this audiobook to those who would like exposure to many different poets and poems, would like to learn more about poets and their poems, or to a budding poetry enthusiast.
The most interesting aspect of the book were the short biographies, anecdotes, general interpretations and personal responses to the poems, as well as information about other favorite poems by those poets and where to go to look for more or to hear actual recorded poet readings. The least interesting were probably the majority of the poems - for me.
Yes. I heard John Lithgow's reading of "Oh! The Places You'll Go!" by Dr. Seuss. I enjoyed his expressive performance there. His poetry readings, while his passion for them were quite clearly conveyed, tended to be a bit duller.
This audiobook was actually a wonderfully diverse range of American and British (nearly) poetry from over the centuries. The sampling of poetic literature throughout my grade school years had nothing on it. There were several poets I'd recognized, a few poems I'd read, and many others I had heard of for the first time. The reason I'd purchased this audiobook was to expose myself to more poetry, and on that account, I was satisfied with my purchase.
I also appreciated John Lithgow's undeniable love for poetry and his desire to share this love with others. Unfortunately, he failed in that with me. I have come to the conclusion that poetry doesn't do much for me. While I had enjoyed a few of the poems in this collection, nearly all of them didn't stir anything in me. Most of them went in through one ear and out the other. I found myself listening to the poet's mini biographies and anecdotes rather than the poems themselves. When I consider my own enjoyment level, I sincerely regret purchasing this audiobook. However, this has nothing to do with the quality of the production and everything to do with my own personal tastes in poetry - or lack thereof.
I did enjoy a few of the performances, but most of them did not resonate with me. I might want to try reading poetry instead of listening to it in the future.
Parts of this review were cross-posted from Goodreads.
I bought this to help me with a college paper, it is an excellent resourse for anyone that has had limited exposure to poetry. John Lithgow makes the poetry an entertaining and enjoyable experience.Now that my class is over I plan to listen just for fun.
He made the poetry understandable and the stories came alive with his insightful narration along with the actors recitile.