Poetry Speaks Expanded, edited by Elise Paschen and Rebekah Presson Mosby, is an updated version of the 2001 collection Poetry Speaks. This remarkable book features poems from 47 of the greatest English-language poets of the 19th and 20th centuries, including such diverse poets as Walt Whitman, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Dylan Thomas. Each chapter of Poetry Speaks Expanded is devoted to a specific author, and includes a brief biography, an essay about the author written by a modern poet, and a selection of the author’s poems. The book is accompanied by three audio CDs of the authors’ readings of their own work—everything from the early (and virtually unintelligible) phonograph recordings of Tennyson reciting “The Charge of the Light Brigade” to modern recordings of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg.
Al Young‘s Something About the Blues is a more informal, idiosyncratic collection. Young, California’s Poet Laureate, has collected 120 of his new and previously-published poems. All of them are blues-inspired; many are dedicated to a specific artist. Something About the Blues is accompanied by an audio recording featuring Young reading and discussing over 20 of his poems, frequently backed by a live band.
Something About the Blues and Poetry Speaks Expanded would make wonderful gifts for any teachers, students, or literature buffs on your holiday shopping list—their combination of text and audio provides the perfect “hook” for anyone interested in deepening their understanding and appreciation of poetry. Poetry Speaks Expanded provides a comprehensive, well-organized introduction to nearly fifty of the greatest English and American poets of the past century, while Young’s collection will be embraced by fans of both the blues and his elegantly offbeat verse. These accessible, beautifully executed collections are guaranteed to offer poetry fans a memorable reading and listening experience.