Here's a rhyming story of a mouse and a monster. Little mouse goes for a walk in a dangerous forest. To scare off his enemies, he invents tales of a fantastical creature called the Gruffalo. So imagine his surprise when he meets the real Gruffalo.
A wildly original poetry collection written and read by one of the UK's most exciting young comics. A poet who favours dark suits, lager and long hot baths, he works on BBC Four in Charlie Brooker's Newswipe and on Radio 4, doing his late night poetry show. In 2009 he won the Edinburgh Comedy Award for his poetical recital The Slutcracker and has filmed some of his verse in black and white to overwhelming critical approval.
"Audiobook version is a must"
Alan Bennett's selection of English verse by his favourite poets: Thomas Hardy, A.E. Housman, W.H. Auden, Louis MacNeice, and Philip Larkin is accompanied by his own enlivening commentary and was recorded before a live audience. In this personal anthology, Alan Bennett has chosen more than seventy poems by six well-loved poets, discussing the writers and their verse in his customary conversational style through anecdote, shrewd appraisal and spare but telling biographical detail.
The great adventure story tells of Odysseus, a veteran of the Trojan War, who - through a landscape peopled with monsters, sea nymphs, evil enchantresses, and vengeful gods - makes his tortuous way home to his faithful wife, Penelope. Shipwrecked numerous times, faced with apparently insurmountable obstacles, offered the temptations of ease, comfort, and even immortality, Odysseus remains steadfast and determined. Themes of courage and perseverance, fidelity and fortitude.
Seamus Heaney's new translation of Beowulf is a work that is both true to the original poem and an expression of something fundamental to Heaney's own creative gift.One of the great classics of English literature, it tells the story of a hero who wins glory and learns wisdom and is then called upon to face a final test against the monstrous. There are obvious parallels to be found in the history of the twentieth century, and Heaney's Beowulf cannot fail to be read partly in the light of his Northern Irish upbringing. But it also transcends such considerations, revealing psychological and spiritual truths that are both permanent and liberating.
One of the greatest works in literature, Dante's story-poem is an allegory that represents mankind as it exposes itself, by its merits or demerits, to the rewards or the punishments of justice. A single listen will reveal Dante's visual imagination and uncanny power to make the spiritual visible.
Kate Tempest is one of the most exciting and innovative performers to have emerged in spoken-word poetry in many years; her dramatic poem "Brand New Ancients" won the prestigious Ted Hughes Prize for innovation in poetry. Tempest's wholly unique blend of street poetry, rap, and storytelling - combined with the spellbinding delivery of an open-air revivalist - has won her legions of followers all over the UK. Her remarkable stage presence is wholly audible in this poem, a spoken story written to be told with live music.
"Current yet timeless"
From his remarkable debut The Hawk in the Rain (1957) to his death in 1998, Ted Hughes was a colossal presence in the English literary landscape. He was also admired as a performer of his own work. Tales from Ovid, Ted Hughes' masterful versions of stories from Ovid's Metamorphoses, includes those of Phaeton, Actaeon, Echo and Narcissus, Procne, Midas and Pyramus and Thisbe as well as many others.
Sir John Betejman was one of the best-known and best-loved Poet Laureates. Even after his death, his popularity continues to garner acclaim and new admirers. Fortunately, he left behind a legacy of poetry readings and performances in the BBC archives that can be enjoyed in this comprehensive collection.
This highly entertaining anthology of verse is the comic, tragic, tender, and telling story of life's seven ages, from childhood to old age. Within the framework of Shakespeare's speech, "The Seven Ages of Man," performed by Sir Ian McKellen, are 150 great poems from all ages, from Chaucer to Emily Dickinson to Walt Whitman and many others. The poem are presented by the finest cast ever assembled on one recording and includes Ralph Fiennes, Dame Judi Dench, John Cleese, Michael Caine, and more.
From his remarkable debut The Hawk in the Rain (1957) to his death in 1998, Ted Hughes was a colossal presence in the English literary landscape. He was also admired as a performer of his own work. Crow is one of his most significant collections, focusing on the central figure of the crow - predatory, mocking and indestructible. Crow is read here by the author in its entirety and with narrative links not included in the published text.
"The master craftsman"
A collection of Larkin's best-known poems, read by the poet. The Sunday Sessions consists of 26 poems, the contents of two tapes recorded by Philip Larkin in Hull in February 1980 - reportedly, each on a Sunday, after lunch with John Weeks, a sound engineer and colleague of the poet. The tapes contain work from Larkin's first major collection, The North Ship as well as poems from his best-known collections, The Whitsun Weddings and High Windows.
A collection of three medieval English poems, translated by Tolkien for the modern-day reader and containing romance, tragedy, love, sex and honour.
"Good stories brilliantly read by Terry Jones"
John Betjeman was by far the most popular poet of the 20th century. His collected poems sold over two million copies. As Poet Laureate, he became a national icon, but behind the public man were doubts and demons. The poet led a tempestuous emotional life. This book was written using the vast archive of personal material relating to Betjeman's private life.
"Captivating biography better than most novels"
Two archive BBC Radio programmes in which Judi Dench and Michael Williams, accompanied by friends John Moffatt and Alec McCowen, read a cornucopia of poetry and prose. In this enchanting pair of programmes from 1991 and 1996, Dame Judi Dench and husband Michael Williams shared an eclectic selection of pieces that they loved, admired or simply found entertaining.
The sixth book of Virgil's Aeneid, in which Aeneas travels into the underworld to meet the spirit of his father, is a story that captivated Seamus Heaney from his schooldays. But the work took on a special significance for him after the death of his own father, becoming a touchstone to which he would return as an adult. His noble and moving translation of book VI bears the fruit of a lifetime's concentration upon it: he began translating passages in the 1980s and was finalising the work right up to the summer of his death.
Thomas's recording of this holiday classic is considered the first official audiobook. You'll hear the author's recollection of a holiday in the seaside town of his youth as well as some of his most celebrated poems, including "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night."
"A Great Little Stocking Filler!"
BBC Radio 4's Poetry Please is the longest-running broadcast of verse anywhere in the world. First aired in 1979, the programme, a request show which broadcasts to two million listeners a week, has become a unique record of the country's best-loved poems over the decades since its inception. The BBC has looked back through its rich archive of recordings to produce a poll of the most asked-for and most broadcast pieces ever: 50 of those poems are read here by Adjoa Andoh and Anton Lesser.
In a nationwide poll conducted by BBC Television's Bookworm to find the nation's favourite poem, Rudyard Kipling's "If" was voted number one. This compilation brings together over 40 poems from the poll, including the top 10, all stirringly read by John Nettles, Siobhàn Redmond, Greg Wise, and Emma Fielding.
"The Nation's Favourite Poems"
John Keats' letters paint an unforgettably vivid and moving picture of the richly productive but also tragic final years of the poet's life. As he ponders on the nature of the writer's craft, he must first confront his brother's death from tuberculosis and then the imminent prospect of his own, tormented by the fear that he will not live to consummate his relationship with Fanny Brawne.
This is a selection from Dr. Sitwell's private notebooks. It includes essays on prosody, the role of the poet, the nature of poetry, and includes her full length work A Notebook on William Shakespeare, as well as discussion of Chaucer, Herrick, Wordsworth, Pope and Byron amongst others. The section on Shakespeare consists of essays on the general aspect of the plays - those great hymns to the principle and the glory of life.
Frank O'Hara was a pioneering modern American poet and playwright - an art critic, a musician, and a curator at the Museum of Modern Art - who defined New York City in its post-WWII heyday. For many these poems defined the city's midcentury zeitgeist.
Doing Time: For the prison writers whose work is included in this anthology, it means more than "serving a sentence"; it means staying alive and sane, preserving dignity, reinventing oneself, and somehow retaining one's humanity. For the last quarter century the prestigious writers' organization PEN has sponsored a contest for writers behind bars to help prisoners face these challenges. The contest honors the best short stories, plays, essays, and poems among hundreds submitted annually by men and women nationwide.
From its inception in California in 1974 to its highly acclaimed critical success at Joseph Papp's Public Theater and on Broadway, the Obie Award-winning for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf has excited, inspired, and transformed audiences all over the country. Passionate and fearless, Shange's words reveal what it is to be of color and female in the 20th century.
Commonly cited as one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature, Beowulf is an epic poem that traces the exploits of the titular hero. After coming to the aid of the king of the Danes, whose mead hall is under constant attack by the monster Grendel, Beowulf slays Grendel's mother and goes on to become the king of the Geats.
Why Shakespeare? What explains our continued fascination with his poems and plays? In Living with Shakespeare, Susannah Carson invites 40 actors, directors, scholars, and writers to reflect on why his work is still such a vital part of our culture.
"A treasure-trove of goodies for lovers of Shakespe"
Following the success of several recent inspirational and practical books for would-be writers, Poemcrazy is a perfect guide for everyone who ever wanted to write a poem but was afraid to try. Writing workshop leader Susan Wooldridge shows how to think, use one's senses, and practice exercises that will make poems more likely to happen.
Kahlil Gibran wrote prolifically and passionately in Arabic as well as English. First published in 1965 with nine works of poetry translated by Joseph Sheban, Mirrors of the Soul includes writings by Gibran that are as poignant today as when first written, such as "The New Frontier" and "The Sea." These poems illuminate the dual nature of Gibran, who lived in the shadows both of New York skyscrapers and the cedars of his childhood Lebanon.
The prolific writings of Kahlil Gibran, author of The Prophet, continue to inspire a devoted international following and have transformed modern Arabic literature. In this volume of early writings, Gibran's simple yet lyrical style crosses from prose to poetry and yields insight into his dedication and inner vision of beauty, including the tale of a strange hermit in "The Tempest", the discovery of love lost to war in "The Mermaids", and the long voyage of sea and soul in the prose poem "Between Night and Morn".
A rich and varied collection of contemporary short stories, extracts from novels, and poetry that will go a long way toward informing the English-speaking world of the latest developments in Iranian literature. This sampling - or to use the Farsi term golchine, a bouquet - provides a window onto an important but sorely neglected segment of world culture. We hope it will also serve to awaken further interest in the work and in translations of Iranian novelists and poets.
By any measure, Gary Snyder is one of the greatest poets in America in the last century. From his first book of poems to his latest collection of essays, his work and his example, standing between Tu Fu and Thoreau, has been influential all over the world. Riprap, his first book of poems, was published in Japan in 1959 by Origin Press, and it is the 50th anniversary of that groundbreaking book that is celebrated with this new edition.
We are proud to continue our project of publishing Deluxe Audio Editions of the poems of Gary Snyder, read by him. When first published in 2004, it was the poet's first new collection of poems in 20 years. Perhaps his most personal, autobiographical collection, it begins with the young poet ascending Mt. St. Helens in 1945, a climb accidentally timed with the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He was 15 years old.
These poems pause for the spectacle - cloning technologies, super-slo-mo photography, narcotic cab rides - to describe a system of tripwires, pitfalls, and decoys that the notion of daily viewership entails. These poems are paeans to our facility for duplicity and self-deception, in which the act of living is like a movie we're not in.
Need Machine clamors through the brain like an unruly marching band. Both caustic and thoughtful, these poems offer a topography of modern life writ large in twitchy, neon splendor, in a voice as sure as a surgeon and as trustworthy as a rumor. Honest, irreverent, and sharply indifferent, this audiobook will "hogtie you with awe."
Divided into two sections, one inspired by ancient Chinese art, the other limning the ambiguities and incongruities of the contemporary human condition, Frutkin's new volume of poetry, Iron Mountain, often presents human beings wandering in the wilderness between two abysses while still appreciating the smell of pines, the softness of the rain, the brilliance of the stars, the hum of the computer, and the jostle of the crowd on the bus.
Kahlil Gibran's reflections on the wistful beauty, lofty majesty, and abiding peace of Eastern wisdom revolutionized Arab literature. This collection of dramatic poems uses the dialogue between age and youth as a platform to discuss deep subjects such as freedom, death, and the eternal soul. From "Of Life and Sorrow" to "Of Science and Knowledge", Gibran's vision transcends boundaries of religion and culture, finding beauty and wisdom in the universal struggles of everyday life.