THE SPOKEN ARTS TREASURY: 100 MODERN AMERICAN POETS READING THEIR POEMS, VOLS. 1 and 2, six discs each, Recorded Books, $41.95 each; "Volume 3" is a special Library Edition, $72.75

Luce and Arthur Klein, a married couple, met in the south of France at the end of World War II. Arthur was an intelligence officer, and Luce was doing reconnaissance for the French underground and trying to place Jewish children in French homes.

Because of their mutual love of literature, in 1956 they founded Spoken Arts Inc. And in 1969, "The Spoken Arts Treasury of 100 Modern American Poets" — an anthology of 464 poems read by the poets who created them — was released on a series of records (back in the days of vinyl).

Now the collection has been remastered with introductions and brief biographies of the poets read by narrator Katherine Kellgren.

"Volume One" includes such prominent poets as Edgar Lee Masters, Gertrude Stein, Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg, T.S. Eliot, Archibald MacLeish, Dorothy Parker, e.e. cummings, Stephen Vincent Benet and Oscar Williams.

"Volume Two" includes Langston Hughes, Ogden Nash, Robert Penn Warren, W.H. Auden, John Berryman, John Ciardi, John Malcolm Brinnin and Robert Lowell.

"Volume Three" includes Utah's own May Swenson and former University of Utah English professor Mark Strand, as well as Richard Wilbur, James Dickey, Philip Booth, Allen Ginsburg, Robert Bly, Donald Hall, Anne Sexton, John Updike and Sylvia Plath.

There is one poet per track, and each track lasts three minutes. The sound quality is excellent, and listening to poetry is often superior to reading it on the page.

Although many poets write for the page rather than for the audience, there is something magical about listening to people who have a flair for the dramatic reading their own poetry.

Utah's late poet laureate Ken Brewer was especially effective in reading his works before a group. He always waved with his right hand in the style of a musical conductor. It is usually the poet who knows where to put the emphasis or inflection, where to slow down and when to pause.

But many poets also believe that there is no certified interpretation of poetry either, meaning that the appreciative reader may be as qualified as the poet to read a poem in public.

Whatever the interpretation, anyone who appreciates excellent poetry will find these volumes provide many hours of listening satisfaction.

For more information on purchasing this series (rentals are also available) go to www.recordedbooks.com or phone 800-638-1304.


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