Volunteers bring you eight different readings of Walt Whitman’s A Noiseless Patient Spider, a weekly poetry project.
American poet Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, is a collection of poems notable for its frank delight in and praise of the senses, during a time when such candid displays were considered immoral. Where much previous poetry, especially English, relied on symbolism, allegory, and meditation on the religious and spiritual, Leaves of Grass exalted the body and the material world.
Whitman was inspired to begin Leaves of Grass after reading an essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson which expressed a need for a uniquely American poet. When the book was first published, Whitman sent a copy to Emerson, whose praiseful letter of response helped launch the book to success. Whitman’s hero, Abraham Lincoln, read and enjoyed an early version of Leaves of Grass. Despite such high recommendations, Whitman faced charges of obscenity and immorality for his work, but this only led to increased popularity of the book.
Whitman continually revised and republished Leaves of Grass throughout his lifetime, notably adding the “Drum-Taps” section after Lincoln’s assassination. The book grew from 12 poems in its first publication, which Whitman paid for and typeset himself, to nearly 400 poems in its final, “Death Bed Edition.” This recording is of the final edition.
Volunteers bring you 11 recordings of Old Ireland by Walt Whitman. This was the Fortnightly Poetry project for August 1st, 2010.
Volunteers bring you 11 recordings of Old Chants by Walt Whitman. This was the Fortnightly Poetry project for May 15, 2011.
Walter "Walt" Whitman was an American poet, essayist and journalist. A humanist, he was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works. Whitman is among the most influential poets in the American canon, often called the father of free verse. His work was very controversial in its time, particularly his poetry collection Leaves of Grass, which was described as obscene for its overt sexuality.
The first edition of Leaves of Grass was very small, collecting only twelve unnamed poems in 95 pages. Whitman continued to expand the editions until the ninth and final edition of almost 400 poems.
Byron, George Gordon, Lord
Juan, captured by Turkish pirates and sold into slavery is bought by a beautiful Princess as her toy-boy. Dressed as an odalisque, he is smuggled into the Sultan's harem for a steamy assignation. Unbelievably, Byron's publisher almost baulked at this feast of allusive irony, blasphemy (mild), calumny, scorn, lesse-majeste, cross-dressing, bestiality, assassination, circumcision and dwarf-tossing. This was the last Canto published by the stuffy John Murray (who had, however, made a tidy fortune on the earlier parts of the Epic). Although Byron's mood starts, after this, to grow darker and his bitterness at English hypocrisy to grow sharper, his discursive comedy and precise and intriguing rhyme is rarely better than in Canto V. (Summary by Peter Gallagher)
LibriVox volunteers bring you 23 different recordings of Alice Pleasance Liddell by Lewis Carroll. This was the weekly poetry project for the week of June 17th, 2007.
Coleridge, Samuel Taylor
For killing an albatross, the mariner and his crew are punished with drought and death. Amidst a series of supernatural events, the mariner's life alone is spared and he repents, but he must wander the earth and tell his tale with the lesson that "all things great and small" are important.
The play begins years after Oedipus has taken the throne of Thebes. The Theban chorus cries out to him for salvation from the plague sent by the gods in response to Laius's murder. Oedipus searches for the murderer, unaware that he himself is guilty of that crime.
The blind prophet Teiresias is called upon to aid the search, but, after his warning against following through with it, Oedipus oppugns him as the murderer, even though he is blind and aged. In response, an angry Tiresias tells Oedipus that he is looking for himself, causing the king to become enraged in incredulity. He then accuses the prophet of conspiring with Creon, Jocasta's brother, to overthrow him.
Oedipus calls for one of Laius's former servants, the only surviving witness of the murder, who fled the city when Oedipus became king in order to avoid being the one to reveal the truth. Soon a messenger from Corinth arrives to inform the king of the death of Polybus, whom Oedipus still believes to be his real father. At this point, the messenger informs him that he was in fact adopted and that his true parentage is unknown. In the subsequent discussions between Oedipus, Jocasta, the servant and the messenger, the second-mentioned surmises the truth and runs away in shame.
The Iliad, together with the Odyssey, is one of two ancient Greek epic poems traditionally attributed to Homer. The poem is commonly dated to the 8th or 7th century BC, and many scholars believe it is the oldest extant work of literature in the Greek language, making it the first work of European literature. The existence of a single author for the poems is disputed as the poems themselves show evidence of a long oral tradition and hence, multiple authors. The poem concerns events during the tenth and final year in the siege of the city of Iliun, or Troy, by the Greeks.
Volunteers bring you 14 recordings of Lines on The Mermaid Tavern by John Keats. This was the Fortnightly Poetry project for August 15th, 2010.
LibriVox volunteers bring you 8 recordings of To Autumn by John Keats. This was the Fortnightly Poetry project for November 21st, 2010.
To Autumn" is the final work in a group of poems known as Keats's "1819 odes".
He composed "To Autumn" after a walk near Winchester one autumnal evening. The work marks the end of his poetic career as he needed to earn money and could no longer devote himself to the lifestyle of a poet. A little over a year following the publication of "To Autumn", Keats died in Rome.
"To Autumn" has been regarded by critics as one of the most perfect short poems in the English language and it is one of the most anthologised English lyric poems.
Cable, George W.
Volunteers bring you 12 recordings of A New Arrival by George W. Cable. This was the Fortnightly Poetry project for May 17th, 2010.
"The New Arrival" is a valuable poem because it expresses the joy of a young father over his new baby. If girls should be educated to be good mothers, so should boys be taught that fatherhood is the highest and holiest joy and right of man. The child is educator to the man. He teaches him how to take responsibility, how to give unbiased judgments, and how to be fatherly like "Our Father who is in Heaven." (1844-.)
Burt, Mary E.
This anthology of poetry, published in 1904, contains such favorites as The Raven, My Shadow, and The Village Blacksmith, as well as many lovely poems that may be unfamiliar. Most of the poems in this collection are short enough for children to memorize.
Volunteers bring you 9 recordings of The Author's Abstract of Melancholy by Robert Burton. This was the fortnightly poetry project for September 20, 2009.
Volunteers bring you 12 recordings of If I Can Stop One Heart From Breaking by Emily Dickinson. This was the Weekly Poetry project for June 27th, 2010.
Poem XXI: "A Book", read by the wonderful podcasters at the Podcasters Across Borders 2006 conference, in Kingston, Ontario, June 23-24, 2006.
Emily Dickinson has come to be regarded as one of the quintessential poets of 19th century America. A very private poet with a very quiet and reclusive life, her poetry was published posthumously and immediately found a wide audience. While she echoed the romantic natural themes of her times, her style was much more free and irregular, causing many to criticize her and editors to "correct" her. In the early 20th century, when poetic style had become much looser, new audiences learned to appreciate her work. Here collected are many of her most contemplative, most rebellious, and "dark" works, expressing her frustrations with the behavioral confines of her times, and the confines of being human and unknowing of eternity. (Summary by Becky Miller)
Volunteers bring you 27 recordings of The Lovers by Emily Dickinson. This was the Weekly Poetry project for May 27, 2012.
The verses of Emily Dickinson belong emphatically to what Emerson long since called "the Poetry of the Portfolio,"—something produced absolutely without the thought of publication, and solely by way of expression of the writer's own mind. Such verse must inevitably forfeit whatever advantage lies in the discipline of public criticism and the enforced conformity to accepted ways. On the other hand, it may often gain something through the habit of freedom and the unconventional utterance of daring thoughts. In the case of the present author, there was absolutely no choice in the matter; she must write thus, or not at all. A recluse by temperament and habit, literally spending years without setting her foot beyond the doorstep, and many more years during which her walks were strictly limited to her father's grounds, she habitually concealed her mind, like her person, from all but a very few friends; and it was with great difficulty that she was persuaded to print, during her lifetime, three or four poems. Yet she wrote verses in great abundance; and though brought curiously indifferent to all conventional rules, had yet a rigorous literary standard of her own, and often altered a word many times to suit an ear which had its own tenacious fastidiousness.
William Blake’s volume of poetry entitled Songs of Innocence and Experience is the embodiment of his belief that innocence and experience were “the two contrary states of the human soul,” and that true innocence was impossible without experience. Songs of Innocence contains poems either written from the perspective of children or written about them. Many of the poems appearing in Songs of Innocence have a counterpart in Songs of Experience, with quite a different perspective of the world.
The disastrous end of the French Revolution caused Blake to lose faith in the goodness of mankind, explaining much of the despair found in Songs of Experience. Blake also believed that children lost their innocence through exploitation and from a religious community which put dogma before mercy. He did not, however, believe that children should be kept from becoming experienced entirely. In truth, he believed that children should indeed become experienced but through their own discoveries, which is reflected in a number of these poems.
Volunteers bring you six different readings of The Voice of the Ancient Bard, by William Blake.
Beowulf. [Translated by Francis Barton Gummere].This is a short but beautiful book, and the Gummere translation really captures the feel of the Old English. Beowulf tells the story of a mysterious young warrior who saves the Spear-Danes from the terrible monster Grendel and his venomous mother. Long a mainstay of English Literature 101 courses at universities around the world, it is not only one of the oldest, but one of the most exciting English folktales ever invented.
Vergilius Maro, Publius
The Aeneid is a Latin epic written by Virgil in the 1st century BC that tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who traveled to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the Romans. The first six of the poem's twelve books tell the story of Aeneas' wanderings from Troy to Italy, and the poem's second half treats the Trojans' ultimately victorious war upon the Latins, under whose name Aeneas and his Trojan followers are destined to be subsumed. The poem was commissioned from Vergil by the Emperor Augustus to glorify Rome. Several critics think that the hero Aeneas' abandonment of the Cartheginian Queen Dido, is meant as a statement of how Augustus' enemy, Mark Anthony, should have behaved with the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra. (Summay by Wikipedia and Karen Merline)
This book tells of a girl named Alice falling through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures.