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Mark van Doren guides you through some of the most brilliant works of poetry in the English language.
©2008 Saland Publishing (P)2008 Saland Publishing

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Joseph M.
  • 27-12-10

Magnificent Readings, Poems Too Abridged

An unfortunate flaw of most poetry anthologies is their paucity of information. Here, fortunately, we know the narrator, Mark van Doren, who does a superb and seamless job introducing each poem excerpt (all of them British) with brief enlightening information. All authors and virtually all works are identified. The latter are the usual canonical suspects, although there are a couple enjoyable surprises. Unfortunately the narrators, classically-trained British actors, are not named ??? which is a shame, since they are uniformly excellent. One example: Having heard at least a dozen recordings of Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" (and if truth be told being somewhat tired of it!), I was utterly blown away by the 2 or 3 minutes excerpted here; so emotionally powerful and delicately nuanced was this performance, I'd give anything to know the reader and have the opportunity to hear his complete rendition. This delightful anthology, whose contents are presented in strict chronological order (from John Dryden to Lord Byron) is far too short: one wishes it included (where practical) the poems in their entirety.

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