BOOK REVIEW: THE POET'S CORNER
John Lithgow was raised on poetry. His grandmother would recite epic poems from memory and his father would read funny versus to him.
John has written “The Poet’s Corner” because he feels it would not only appeal to someone just being introduced to poetry but would also interest any experienced poetry reader. John also feels the poems he has chosen will appeal to both young and old readers.
John has chosen 50 of his favorite poets. The poets are different from one another. The only thing they have in common is that they write in English and their work survives them. They lived on different continents and in different eras. Their work covers a variety of different subjects.
John has prepared the book in a very interesting way. He gives us a brief history on each poet. John then gives us a list of his favorite poems by the poet. A poem is then written in its entirety and at the conclusion John gives us his interpretation of what this poem means to him.
I have never been “into” poetry except when I had to read it in school. After reading the poems in this book I now see poetry in a different light. John Lithgow recommends that you read the poems aloud which is something I did. This advice seemed to work very well. You may come across some names of poets you will not recognize but on the other hand you will know several of them such as Robert Burns, Emily Dickinson, T.S. Elliott, Robert Frost, and John Keats, etc. One of my favorite poems in this book is called Annabel Lee written by Edgar Allen Poe written two days before his death. John Lithgow explains that you can feel the grief that Poe expressed at the loss of his young wife who died two years before. Another of my favorites is Do Not Go Gentile Into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas. This poem is about the death of a father. John Lithgow likes this one because he lost his father who was a great lover of poetry.
If you are like me and never really got “into” poetry I would recommend this book to take a fresh look at something you might have bypassed. This book also comes with a MP3 bonus CD that includes readings by John Lithgow and his friends. As you start to read this book you will probably start to feel a little different about poetry because you are not being forced to read it as if you were in school. With the help of John Lithgow you will start the see the beauty of words as come together in poems. What really helped me was the way John Lithgow gave you his interpretation at the conclusion of a poem so you can compare it to your impression. This book is highly recommended.
REVIEWED BY NANCY EATON
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