An anthology of over 50 classic poems, read by some of our finest actors. This collection contains a selection of the very best poems, from verses inspired by love to war poetry, nature poems and children's rhymes. Here are much-loved favourites such as A Red, Red Rose, She Walks in Beauty, Anthem for Doomed Youth, If..., Kubla Khan, Ode to a Nightingale, Jabberwocky, My Shadow and The Jumblies; as well as timeless poems by such celebrated authors as Shakespeare, Burns, Byron, Shelley, Yeats, Kipling and Wordsworth. Beautifully read by a wealth of well-known actors, these are poems that you will never tire of listening to. Performed by Maxine Peake, Bill Wallis, Rupert Penry-Jones, Jenny Agutter, Bill Paterson, Dean Lennox Kelly, Rupert Holliday Evans, Michael Jayston, Samantha Bond, Michael Maloney, David Schofield, Anthony Howell, Claire Rushbrook, Alex Jennings, Emilia Fox, Geoffrey Palmer and Julia McKenzie.
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This collection grew on me, and the narration is very very good.
I delayed reviewing this since I was initially disappointed/bemused with the selection and did not wish to dash off an unfair review. This does not have anything by John Donne or Dylan Thomas (for example), and nothing more recent than WH Davies (maybe the only living poet included). Some poets have more than one poem (the editor clearly is fond of Wilfred Owen as five are included). It is arranged in themes, and within the themes I felt the juxtaposition of the choices was a bit unique (e.g. blithely mixing centuries/wars).
However, I found myself choosing to listen to this anthology a fair few times and really appreciate the narration. For example the profoundly sad “Strange Meeting” (by Owen) stands out for me. Likewise I found the narration of “The Hunting of a Snark” made the poem finally enjoyable (having never really enjoyed nonsense poems before).
The poems are as follows:
Love Themed: My Delight and thy delight, by Robert Bridges; Red Red Rose, Robert Burns; When I was 1 and 20 – AE Houseman; Ay Fond Kiss, Robert Burns; Sonnet 43, Elizabeth Barrett Browning; My true love hath my heart, Philip Sidney; Passionate Sheppard to his love, Christopher Marlowe; I love thee, Thomas Hood; To my loving Husband, Anne Bradstreet; Annie Laurie, William Douglas; She Walks in Beauty, Bryon; Loves Philosophy, Percy Bysse Shelley; (Extract of) Romeo & Juliet & Sonnet 18, Wm Shakespeare; He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven, Wm Butler Yeats;
War /Conflict / Grief Themed 1914, The Soldier, Rupert Brook; I saw his round mouths crimson, Owen; Vitaï Lampada, Newbolt; In Flanders fields, John McCrae; Anthem for doomed youth, Owen; Elegy in a Country Churchyard, GK Chesterton; Remember, Christina Rossetti; Ex Clerk, Kipling; Disabled, Owen; I have a rendezvous with death, Alan Seeger; The charge of the light brigade, Tennyson; Grief, Elizabeth Barrett Browning; In Gethsemane, Kipling; Dulce et decorum est, Owen; After Great Pain a Form of Feeling comes, Emily Dickinson; Strange Meeting, Owen
Sense of Place/Stages of Life If, Rudyard Kipling; Leisure, WH Davies; To a butterfly, Wordsowrth; Innisfree, Wm Butler Yeats; Kubla Khan, Coleridge; (Extract of) Lady of Shallot, Tennyson; Ode to a Nightingale, Keats; The Rainbow, Wordsworth; (Extract of) Endymion, Keats; Auguries of Innocence, Blake; To Daffodils, Robert Herrick; From Cocoon forth a butterfly, Emily Dickinson
Nonsense /Children's poems (Extract from) The Hunting of a Snark, Lewis Carroll; The Cow, RL Stephenson; Trioley, I wish I were a jelly fish, GK Chesterton; From Looking glass, Lewis Carroll; The song of Mr. Toad, Kenneth Graham; The pobble who has no toes, Lear; The Elephant, AE Housman; Jabberwocky, Lewis Carroll; The Camels Complaint, Charles Edward Carroll; My shadow, RL Stephenson.