Editor: Jason Shinder: Advisory Editors: Michael O’Keefe and Lili Taylor
ISBN: 10: 1-4022-0502-3: 13:978-1-4022-0502-6
The Poem I Turn To: Actors & Directors Present Poetry That Inspires Them is a wonderful anthology that embraces poems chosen by some of our most notable actors, directors, and other movie makers such as actors Alan Arkin, Carrie Fisher, Jane Fonda, Amy Bloom, Steve Buscemi, Paul Guilfoyle, Daryl Hannah, Melissa Leo, Alfre Woodard and David Duke, producers or directors Michael Fitzgerald, Kathleen Glynn, John Landis, Billy Luther, Eric Mendelsohn, Screenwriters Kyra Sedgwick, Michael Lally, and several more.
Each one of these personalities have selected two of their best loved poems and as mentioned in the introduction, the reasons for their choices are wide and varied such as the “lyrical tenderness of a poem, its physicality and beauty of the body, the passing of time, the intense sorrow of war, the great joy of nature, the elusive and ephemeral light and darkness of memory, and the capacity and courage to sustain love.”
All have found splendour within the poetic language that have reached inside and touched them on a unique level or plateau that live in their body, mind and spirit. As Jason Shinder states in the introduction, “By sharing the poems they turn to, and commenting on their choices, the contributors in this book offer testimony to our essential human need for contemplation in a work in which the velocity and volume of experience are often overwhelming.”
The wide spectrum of poems that have been included represent many schools of poetry and many different types of poets. You will read and even hear poems from some well-known poets as Shakespeare, Edna St. Vincent Millay, T.S. Eliot, Mark Twain, Pulitzer prize winner Mary Oliver, Eugene O’Neill, Ezra Pound, Robert Frost, to the lesser known as Anna Akhmatova whose was born in the Ukraine in 1889 and whose work was banned from 1925 through 1940, Clarence R. Wylie, Jr. who was both a poet and mathematics professor at Furman University in South Carolina, Meghan O’Rourke whose first book of poetry, HALFLIFE was published in 2007 and many others.
One poem, and yes there were many more, that particularly touched me was Ezra Pound’s In a Station at the Metro chosen by actor Michael O’Keefe whose first acclaimed film role was as the oldest son of Marine aviator in The Great Santini.
Pound’s poet is succinct yet says it all when he writes:
“The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
“Petals on a wet black bough.”
O’Keefe’s comments pertaining to this poem are particularly interesting when he states: “By establishing the location of the poem in the title, In a station of the metro, the vivid image that follows completes the poem and one is transported to that literary station of the mind’s eye where the ‘apparition of these faces in the crowd’ instantly become, petals on a wet black bough. The poem is apprehended and its imagery is established so quickly that it is over faster than a train passing in the Parish Metro. Whoosh: a poem.”
It should be pointed out that included along with the poems are brief bios of the poets as well as comments from the contributors pointing out, as O’Keefe has done, the essential ingredients of the poem and why they have chosen it.
In addition, as poems have a unique power when read aloud, included with the book is a CD of carefully chosen pieces featuring Hollywood personalities reading their chosen works. In fact, Michael O’Keefe reads In a Station at the Metro, Lily Taylor reads Robert Frost’s, The Road Not Taken and many more. When some of these poems are heard aloud, we often can get a glimpse of the poet’s psyche and in fact sometimes if a poem is well recited it can even prove to be mesmerizing.
The Poem I Turn To: Actors & Directors Present Poetry That Inspires Them is sure to delight poetry fans and even those who may not be aware that poetry can transform your life, for it is in poetry that we perceive language and imagery aiding us in comprehending and interpreting the world.
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The above review was contributed by: The Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com, Norm Goldman, B.A. LL.L, Retired Title Attorney: Norm is also a travel writer and together with his artist wife, Lily, the couple meld Norm's words with Lily's art. To check out their travel site click on Sketchandtravel.com Click here to view Norm’s Reviews & Interviews.