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Publisher's Summary

In a series of fascinating conversations with eighteen American poets, and in dozens of poems, The Language of Life celebrates language in its "most exalted, wrenching, delighted, and concentrated form," and its unique power to recreate the human experience: falling in love, facing death, leaving home, losing faith, finding God. The poets who speak with Bill Moyers about their work and their lives form a dazzlingly diverse chorus of American voices. From Linda McCarriston to Gary Snyder to Adrienne Rich and more, all testify to the clarity of the poet's voice in a culture where language has been corrupted by commerce and politics and all give hope that from such a wide variety of racial, ethnic, and religious threads they might yet weave a new American fabric. "Listen, said the storytellers of old, listen and you shall hear," explains Bill Moyers. The Language of Life is a joyous, life-affirming invitation to listen, learn, and experience poetry's exhilarating power.
© and (P)1995 Public Affairs Television, Inc. and David Grubin Productions, Inc. Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, A Division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing Group, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Deanna O'Shaughnessy on 11-19-04


This series, "Language of Life", though "only about poetry", was not only life-changing for me, but also ~ literally ~ for several of my friends who heard it. Coleman Barks' presentation of Rumi's poetry was exquisite and very moving. I have heard other productions of Barks reading Rumi's poetry, but none of them captured the magic as this presentation does. There is amazing life, vibrancy, passion and humor throughout all of the poets' presentations. As one poet says in the interviews, listening to a poet read his or her own words is like "fireworks for the ears". The performance poetry in this series will forever alter your perception of poetry, and will light a fire under the idea that language is your power, too. This series gorgeously illustrates that, as Rumi says, there are hundreds of ways "to kneel and kiss the ground."

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20 of 20 people found this review helpful

1 out of 5 stars
By vasilios on 03-19-15

Politics and art are a bad mix

The title deceived me. I thought it was about life in the broadest sense but this collection of brief interactions with so-called minority and feminist poets and samples of their work was heavily biased toward a minority anti-American, anti-White, narrowed perspective of poetry and art... I am not american and was looking for poetry with more transcendent qualities, able to get beyond surface preoccupations... If this collection represents the best of American poetry then the art is in trouble of being underwhelmed by mediocrity... Bill movers didn't challenge these political ideologues enough because just wanted his show done and dusted, it seems... Disappointing in the extreme...

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1 of 12 people found this review helpful

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