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Grade 9-Up The simplicity and elegance of Shakespeare's lyric poetry is apparent in this audio rendition. All 154 sonnets are read in order, each one identified by its number which corresponds with the CD track number, making it easy to locate a particular choice. This form of poetry is characterized by 14 lines of rhymed, iambic pentameter in a scheme of three quatrains followed by a couplet. British narrator, David Butler, reads the sonnets as the form dictates, recognizing the endstops and adjusting his tone to the turn of the couplet. His voice is liltingly romantic with a limited range of emotion. In an afterward, Butler explains how the first 126 sonnets are addressed to a young man, in general, and the last two addressed to Cupid. The "dark lady" of the other sonnets is a mystery as is the person or patron for whom the collection was written. This information is fascinating, and students would benefit by listening to it first. There is no pause or analysis between sonnets and no accompanying text, suggesting that teachers will best use the CDs as an audio reference. Shakespeare's well-loved verse is in an ideal format for teachers to use as a class resource.
Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Since we will never hear tapes of Keats or Shakespeare reading, and several recordings by actors exist (e.g., John Keats: Selected Poems, Blackstone Audio, 1993; Sonnets by William Shakespeare, Recorded Bks., 1990), we must judge these tapes by the actors' performances. In John Keats: Poems, Douglas Dodge modulates his voice beautifully to capture the slightly varied emotions of many poems. This well-edited recording contains Keats's most famous works: "La Belle Dame Sans Merci," "The Eve of St. Agnes," "Ode to a Nightingale," "On a Grecian Urn," along with many lesser-known short poems such as "To Mrs. Reynolds' Cat" that exhibit the poet's more fanciful side. Reading all of Shakespeare's sonnets written between 1593 and 1601, actor Simon Callow conveys the dramatic potential not often recognizable in other recordings. With the exception of a few sonnets addressing the muse, anyone unfamiliar with Shakespeare's works could easily believe these were selected monologs from various plays. Pausing briefly between poems, Callow's tone shifts enough to create new characterizations for every sonnet. Both tapes are recommended for smaller collections and essential for larger ones.
Rochelle Ratner, formerly Poetry Editor, "Soho Weekly News," New York
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.