Thursday, November 25, 2010

"Ode to Autumn" by John Keats

Source: Classic Poetry Aloud (mp3)
Length:  2 minutes, 13 seconds
Reader: Anonymous (credited as Classic Poetry Aloud)

The poem:  Happy Thanksgiving! I won't have the chance to write much since I'm spending time with my family. I would like to say how thankful I am for my readers; I've enjoyed the comments you have left and the kind words others have written on other sites about my blog.

I chose this poem because it celebrates the beauty and bounty of the season. Keats was certainly not thinking of the holiday of Thanksgiving -- Keats was British and Thanksgiving wasn't even an official holiday in the United States at the time. However, the poem exemplifies the spirit of Thanksgiving, if unintentionally. Where most poets would admire the vibrancy of Spring and relegate Autumn to a metaphor of impending death, Keats sees inspiration in the present, luxuriating in the harvest and taking in the smells, tastes, sights and sounds of the season he is in, rather than wishing for another time.

Rating: 7/10

The reader: With his BBC-quality British accent, the reader of Classic Poetry Aloud is the epitome of fine culture. His deep, mellow voice is soothing and rich, fitting the sensual qualities of the poem. He does an excellent job bringing the listener into the poem by varying his speed and pitch to convey the emotions of the poet, but he doesn't overdo his theatrics. Listening to a few other poems from the website, I find Classic Poetry Aloud to be a go-to resource for older poems.

photo by Per Ola Wiberg, Creative Commons by attribution license.

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