April is National Poetry Month and to celebrate the beauty of the written word spoken well, I’m sharing an audio series of three of my favorite poetry readings. Each is a YouTube video of one of my favorite actors reciting a poetic selection and, perhaps with the exception of today’s post, watching the video is completely unnecessary to enjoying to depth of music, emotion, and linguistic precision in these pieces. In fact, it is best to close your eyes and simply LISTEN and resist the temptation to be distracted by the visual images on the screen. With perhaps the exception of Hamlet, the images lend nothing to the experience of the poem itself, for the experience is dependent upon well-chosen language spoken beautifully. I chose these pieces not only because of the beauty of the written works themselves, but because they seem to me to come particularly alive delivered through these select “voices.”
Today, the “To be or not to be” soliloquy from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, performed by Kenneth Branagh in his gorgeous film production of the play.
For more information about National Poetry Month or for ideas on how to plant the seed that will grow a poetry garden in your own daily life, visit The Poetry Foundation and the Academy of American Poets.