Continuing our series of famous poems read by famous poets, we offer one of E.E. Cummings most recognizable works. Cummings was one of the most innovative, popular and recognizable American poets of the 20th Century.
Well known for his idiosyncratic style, this Cummings poem, like many of his well-known works, is a poem about love. The spirituality of his phrases envelope the heart and the metaphors he offers to connect this love (to the inevitability of nature, for example) allow the reader to feel their own love in a more expressive way.
Listening to his voice as it transcends time is very interesting, perhaps even eerie. The scratchiness of the sound quality helps to create this strange sensation. But the depth of his feeling comes through in his voice, and the careful timing and phonetics that only the poet himself could employ add to the audio.
Enjoy this piece!
Kerouac's form of Haiku was (like the Beat movement itself) a slap in the face of tradition. As poetry, the strict syllabic rules of traditional Japanese Haiku are ignored in favor of a looser "statement, tension, resolution" style of poetry following the musical tenets of blues and Jazz.
In fact when you listen to each of Kerouacs "American Haiku" poems, you'll notice that each one is followed by an interpretive, creative jazz or blues saxophone riff which closely resembles the mood of the haiku which preceded it! Delightful.
Our Audio series selects a number of great poems and allows you to listen to them as poetry readings. Preferably, and in most cases the reading will be performed by the author -- in some cases they will be performed by a professional or amateur.
In any case, the idea is to lift that burden of interpretation occasionally. Just sit back and listen.
On this poem, you can almost feel the cold toughness of Bukowski -- you can enter his world of "Whiskey, Whores and Cigarette smoke" and actually hear it in his unapologetic voice. But you also get a teeny hint (and almost subliminal shot) of his heart, his broken heart, his childhood and his sensitivity, through the begrudging existence of the Bluebird there within it.
Some of Kerouac's poetry will definitely be featured here, as well as Ginsberg, Cummings, Neruda, William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens, Sylvia Plath and the like. Very interesting stuff, allowing you to feel the rhythm and meter of the poetry as it was imagined or interpreted by the authors themselves.
In this case we offer one of Kerouacs more famous choruses from his famous collection "Mexico City Blues". But rather than offer up a reading by Kerouac himself, I chose this interesting, artistic impression by none other than Johnny Depp, the epitome of cool today -- a real throwback to the Beat/Hippie poetry movement and a scholar of great literature and art. This is a side of Johnny Depp that not everyone is aware of, but in many ways Depp's interest and involvement in the arts is what separates him from the rest.
Listen and watch -- Depp really catches the feeling and despair of Kerouac quite nicely and the music provides a spiritual backdrop which adds to the drama of this exquisite piece!
|Alice Liddell (L) and Lewis Carroll (R)|
Did you know that "Alice in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass" were inspired by a real girl, named Alice? This is NOT conjecture. Her name is Alice Pleasance Lidell, and she is well known as the little girl who inspired Carroll to write the story.
The following poem is an excerpt from the novel written by Lewis Carroll. Notice that it is an "acrostic" poem, and read the first letter down to the bottom!
A Boat Beneath a Sunny Sky
By Lewis Carroll
A boat beneath a sunny sky,
Lingering onward dreamily
In an evening of July--
Children three that nestle near,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Pleased a simple tale to hear--
Long has paled that sunny sky:
Echoes fade and memories die.
Autumn frosts have slain July.
Still she haunts me, phantomwise,
Alice moving under skies
Never seen by waking eyes.
Children yet, the tale to hear,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Lovingly shall nestle near.
In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die:
Ever drifting down the stream--
Lingering in the golden gleam--
Life, what is it but a dream?