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.
Wystan Hugh Auden (1907–1973) was an Oxford-educated English writer who entered poetic history with the volume Poems, published in 1930 following a private printing of a book of the same name in 1928. Also a respected librettist, essayist, translator, and playwright, Auden went on to publish dozens of poetry collections, including Another Time (Random House, 1940), which contains his often-anthologized poem "Musée des Beaux Arts"; For the Time Being (Random House, 1944); The Shield of Achilles (Faber and Faber, 1955); and Thank You, Fog: Last Poems (Random House, 1974).
Tyne Daly is a stage and screen actress whose performance as Rose in Gypsy earned her a Tony Award in 1989. She appeared in television's Cagney and Lacey for six years, during which time she won four Emmy Awards for her performance as Detective Mary Beth Lacey. Daly is currently playing the role of Maria Callas in the Kennedy Center production of Master Class, which closes on April 18.
"But I Can't" by W. H. Auden, from Poetic License produced by Glen Roven. Copyright © 2010 by GPR Records. Used with permission of GPR Records.
Perhaps because many writers and their adherents are poorly paid and often go unrecognized, they cultivate a variety of myths—some about the creative process, others about the profession itself—to justify what they do, to cheer themselves up, to inhabit a mystique.
Need a dose of inspiration for your writing routine this April? Take our Poetry Challenge and try out a new writing prompt or poetry-related assignment every day during National Poetry Month.
The video poem may be ushering a whole new demographic to poetry. Here are six that have been made available to a wide audience on YouTube.