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The Poets’ Corner
The One-and-Only Poetry Book for the Whole Family

Compiled by John Lithgow

      Actor John Lithgow grew up surrounded by poetry and hopes to inspire literary readers of all ages by compiling 50 of his favorite poets in one anthology. Arranged alphabetically by poet, the poems (one or two selected works) jump from various moods, decades, and styles, rather than being presented in more traditional groupings such as by country or period (e.g., English Romantic Poets). This smorgasbord of verse includes a brief history of each poet, an occasional quotation from the poet, and a few of Lithgow’s favorite titles in addition to the representative work. At the conclusion of each segment, Lithgow provides a light analysis of the form, content, or style of the poem in order to justify its inclusion in the book.

Designed to reacquaint readers with the joy of poetry, The Poets’ Corner includes a large variety of subjects and styles, from lighthearted works (Ogden Nash, Lewis Carroll, William S. Gilbert, etc.) to more serious works (Hart Crane, Matthew Arnold, Edgar Allan Poe, etc.), and everything in between. Although some of the selected poems may seem undecipherable at first glance, Lithgow gently guides the reader through more difficult passages, noting interesting phrases and symbolic references, and defining obscure words such as "pied" and "brindled."

The back of the book contains a selection of 50 poems from the book (not quite all-inclusive) on an MP3 CD, recited by Lithgow and his friends. Rest assured that his friends are not like most people’s friends. Contributors include Glenn Close, Helen Mirren, Gary Sinise, Kathy Bates, Jodie Foster, Billy Connolly, and Morgan Freeman. Lithgow writes in the introduction that the one unifying element of the selected poems is that he loves them all. Although it’s doubtful that you will share his admiration for all of the selected works, readers with any artistic sensibilities whatsoever should find plenty to love about The Poets’ Corner.

The Book

Grand Central Publishing / Hachette Book Group USA
November 2007
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The Reviewer

Leslie Halpern
Reviewed 2008
NOTE: Reviewer Leslie Halpern is the author of Reel Romance. The Lovers' Guide to the 100 Best Date Movies and Dreams on Film. Coming Soon: A Writer's Guide to Fearless Interviews.
© 2008