I've reviewed many books on this blog over the past year and many of those reviews included recommendations, but I don't think I can recommend a book more than the one I finished today. It's a collection of poems compiled by John Lithgow and it's called Poets' Corner: The One-and-Only Poetry Book for the Whole Family.
And it's absolutely wonderful!
I've mentioned several times on this blog that as a teenager I did not take full advantage of my high school educational opportunities. I had many friends who ran with the brainy crowd. I would not consider myself one of them. I thought since my grades were average, I didn't belong in that group. While my friends were learning about great artists and writers and thinkers and philosophers, I was trying to find a way to not take English classes.
I had no idea what I was missing.
Then again, I might not have appreciated what I could have learned from the masters. Most likely I would have dismissed it as highbrow learning meant for the smarter kids. I suppose we'll never know. Fast forward thirty plus years and it seems every time I read a book that I should have read in high school, I understand better why these works were chosen for impressionable minds. They're fantastic! And the poetry compiled by Mr. Lithgow is the kind of material I'm sure I would have studied all those years ago.
If only I had wanted to.
The poems chosen for this book are wonderful, enchanting, classics--each and every one. Lithgow begins by relating personal memories of his childhood where his love of poetry began to grow. We benefit from his experiences as we see the effect the beautiful words and phrases can literally change a person. He choses some of the most important writers in the Western World, give us an example of their works and lets us know a little about their lives. Having famous award-winning narrators is a definite plus.
For those of you who at some point studied poets and their poems, you may already be familiar with many of the collected works. If so, you'll see what they mean to another human being, perhaps enhancing the experience for you. If you haven't studied much poetry, this is a great way to get to know the poems and those who wrote them.
I've reviewed a lot of books on this blog. Most I don't think I'll ever re-read. I hope to read this one again and again. It's just that good.
* Photo used without permission from: https://www.goodreads.com/book/photo/2172445.The_Poets_Corner