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.
Thomas Hardy (1840–1928) was an English writer who left his career as an architect to write novels, some of the best-known being Far From the Madding Crowd (1874), Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1891), and Jude the Obscure (1895). He published his first poetry collection when he was nearly sixty years old, and went on to put out eight volumes in total, including Wessex Poems (1898), Time's Laughingstocks (1909), and Satires of Circumstance (1914).
Harriet Walter is a British actress who has performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company in productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Nicholas Nickleby, and Three Sisters, among other plays. She has also portrayed Virginia Woolf and George Eliot in televised documentaries, and played roles in films such as Sense and Sensibility, Atonement, and The Young Victoria.
"The Walk" by Thomas Hardy, from Poetic License produced by Glen Roven. Copyright © 2010 by GPR Records. Used with permission of GPR Records.