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James Barbour reads "If" by Rudyard Kipling

In celebration of National Poetry Month, every day we're posting a new poem from the spoken-word album Poetic License, a three-CD set that features one hundred performers of stage and screen reading one hundred poems selected by the actors themselves. From Shakespeare and Dickinson to Lucille Clifton and Allen Ginsberg, the lineup spans contemporary American poetry and classics of the Western canon. 

Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936), born in Bombay to English parents during the period of British colonial rule in India, was the youngest writer ever to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature. Known primarily as the author of fiction, including the novel Captains Courageous (S. S. McClure, 1896), the children's classics The Jungle Book (Macmillan, 1894) and Just So Stories for Little Children (Doubleday, Page & Company, 1902), as well as some World War I propaganda literature, Kipling also wrote poetry. The first volume of his collected poems was published in 1933.

James Barbour most recently appeared as Sydney Carton in A Tale of Two Cities on Broadway, a performance for which he received best actor award nominations from Drama Desk, the Drama League, and Outer Critics Circle. He has also appeared in Broadway adaptations of Jane Eyre, Cyrano, and Beauty and the Beast.

"If" by Rudyard Kipling, from Poetic License produced by Glen Roven. Copyright © 2010 by GPR Records. Used with permission of GPR Records

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