By Chet Yarbrough
Written by: John Lithgow
Narration by: Morgan Freeman, Susan Sarandon, Helen Mirren, Glenn Close, Gary Sinese, John Lithgow
There is something about the voice and manner of John Lithgow that burns brightly in one’s imagination. Maybe it is the serious and comic ability of his Broadway and television presence or an underlying sense of knowing that he knows more than you when he speaks his memorized lines. “The Poets’ Corner” confirms all three; i.e. Lithgow is everything you expect. He is serious. He is comic, and he knows more than you know.
Of course the Poets’ Corner is a location in Westminster Abbey dedicated to famous poets, playwrights, and writers.
Some of the poets in Lithgow’s book are memorialized in the Abbey. But Lithgow’s choice of inclusion is not limited to the Westminster’ scions of poetry. Lithgow lists poets by the alphabet and offers a thumbnail biography of each. He participates and enlists great, and near-great actors to read the poems. The result is magically delicious.
Every listener will find something that raises their appreciation of poetry. From the seriousness of Matthew Arnold,
to the pacing of Lewis Carroll’s nonsense
to Shakespearean songs
William Butler Yeats’ “…Innisfree”.
A listener enjoys Lithgow’s fascinating assembly of poets; whether admirer, critic, or amateur. These Youtube representations are a pale comparison to the narrations done by Lithgow and his friends. This is a highly entertaining audio book; i.e. poetry that is better represented by its narration than its reading.