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British Poets: The Spoken Word (audio CD)

Published Date:
October 2010
British Library
Bibliographic Details:
Three CDs and booklet, running time: 217 minutes
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Now £15.00
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From Alfred, Lord Tennyson to Ted Hughes, this three CD compilation offers a survey of some of the greatest British poets of a century and more.

30 poets are included, each reading from their own work, often with their own spoken introductions. The selection includes historic recordings by Tennyson and Robert Browning; poet laureates John Masefield, Cecil Day Lewis, John Betjeman and Ted Hughes; unforgettable voices, such as Edith Sitwell and Dylan Thomas; and rare recordings by Philip Larkin and Edwin Morgan.

The majority of the recordings are taken from BBC broadcasts and are published here for the first time.

`The oldest performance, the famous wax cylinder recordings of Tennyson from 1890, is neatly paired with Robert Browning`s 1889 performance in which he - likeably - forgets his own verse, but is nonetheless treated to three rousing cheers from a large audience.` Dr Andrea Brady, Viewfinder
`Enjoyable and instructive for those who wish to come nearer to a literary form that can be as much aural as written.` Contemporary Review
`Priceless.` Times Literary Supplement
These CDs are a treasure-trove. Always fascinating and instructive, and always proving that the sound and the sense of poetry cannot be separated.
Sir Andrew Motion, former Poet Laureate

Listen to sample tracks using Windows Media Player:

Stevie Smith reading 'Not Waving but Drowning'

Tennyson reading Charge of the Light Brigade

John Masefield reading 'Sea Fever'

Track listing


Alfred Tennyson

1 Charge of the Light Brigade
2 Charge of the Heavy Brigade at Balaclava
Robert Browning

3 How they Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix

Laurence Binyon

4 For the Fallen (September, 1914)

5 Pine Trees

6 Home Coming

7 For Mercy, Courage, Kindness, Mirth

Walter De la Mare

8 Introduction to `Thomas Hardy`

9 Thomas Hardy

10 Sotto Voce

11 To K.M. [Katharine Mansfield]

12 Away

John Masefield

13 A Prayer for King and Country

14 Sea Fever

15 On Growing Old

Edith Sitwell

16 Lullaby

17 Dirge for the new sunrise

18 Heart and Mind

19 Scotch Rhapsody

Hugh MacDiarmid

20 Reflections in a Slum

21 Introduction to Old Wife in High Spirits

22 Old Wife in High Spirits

Robert Graves

23 Love in Barrenness

24 The Terraced Valley

25 Like Snow

26 Through Nightmare

27 To Juan at the Winter Solstice

28 Song of Blodeuwedd

29 The White Goddess

David Jones

30 The Wall
Basil Bunting

31 On the Fly-leaf of Pound`s Cantos

32 What the Chairman told Tom

Stevie Smith

33 Not Waving but Drowning

34 Introduction to Persephone

35 Persephone

36 Introduction to At School

37 At School


Cecil Day Lewis

1 Do not expect again a phoenix hour

2 Come, Live with me and be my love

3 Tempt me no more

4 Overture to Death

5 In the heart of contemplation

John Betjeman

6 Middlesex

7 Introduction to Eunice

8 Eunice

9 Introduction to The Irish Unionist`s Farewell t Greta Hellstrom in 1922

10 The Irish Unionist`s Farewell To Greta Hellstrom in 1922

11 Introduction to Caprice

12 Caprice

W H Auden

13 As I Walked Out One Evening

14 Introduction to On This Island

15 On This Island

16 Introduction to As He Is

17 As He Is

18 Introduction to The Shield of Achilles

19 The Shield of Achilles

Louis MacNeice

20 Sunday Morning

21 Snow

22 The Sunlight on the Garden

23 The Creditor

Stephen Spender

24 Rough

25 The Truly Great

26 The Express

27 Elementary School Classroom in a Slum

Sorley MacLean

28 Introduction to Hallaig
29 Hallaig (Read in English)

30 Hallaig (Read in Gaelic)

R S Thomas

31 The Other

32 Ancestors

33 Plas Difancoll

George Barker

34 Introduction to The Ballad of Yucca Flats

35 The Ballad of Yucca Flats

36 Introduction to Home Thoughts

37 Home Thoughts

Dylan Thomas

38 Introduction to Poem in October

39 Poem in October

40 Fern Hill

41 And death shall have no dominion

David Gascoyne

42 Introduction to The Three Stars

43 The Three Stars

44 The Post-War Night

45 Birth of a Prince
46 Evening Again


John Heath-Stubbs

1 Purkis

2 Old Mobb

3 Susanna

4 Bevis of Hampton

W. S. Graham

5 Introduction to To Alexander Graham

6 To Alexander Graham

7 Introduction to Imagine a Forest

8 Imagine a Forest

9 Introduction to To My Wife at Midnight

10 To My Wife at Midnight
Edwin Morgan

11 Introduction to Canedolia

12 Canedolia

13 The Computer`s First Christmas Carol

14 Alienation

15 The Loch Ness Monster`s Song
George Mackay Brown

16 Introduction

17 Our Lady of the Waves

Kingsley Amis

18 A Dream of Fair Women

19 After Goliath

20 An Ever-Fixed Mark

Philip Larkin

21 A Study of Reading Habits

22 Dockery and Son

23 Introduction to The Whitsun Weddings

24 The Whitsun Weddings

Ian Hamilton Finlay

25 Finlay`s House (in Rousay)
26 Gift

27 Art Student

28 Black Tomintoul

Thom Gunn

29 From the Wave

30 Sunlight

31 Apartment Cats

Ted Hughes

32 Introduction to Pike

33 Pike

34 Introduction to Out

35 Out

36 Introduction to Theology

37 Theology

38 Introduction to Pibroch

39 Pibroch

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