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Catching Life by the Throat unites the sound, sense, and sensibility that lie at the heart of great poetry. It features eight great poets, with brief, accessible essays concerning their life and work and a selection of their poems, and it is accompanied by an 80-minute CD recorded live at the British Library: Ralph Fiennes reading Auden, Edward Fox reading Eliot, Roger Moo Catching Life by the Throat unites the sound, sense, and sensibility that lie at the heart of great poetry. It features eight great poets, with brief, accessible essays concerning their life and work and a selection of their poems, and it is accompanied by an 80-minute CD recorded live at the British Library: Ralph Fiennes reading Auden, Edward Fox reading Eliot, Roger Moore reading Kipling, Harold Pinter reading Larkin, and more.Whether you believe (like Robert Frost, who inspired the title) that poetry is a way of taking life by the throat or (like T. S. Eliot) that it is one person talking to another, nobody does it better than the poets featured in this book. For a novice discovering the rich heritage of English-language verse or a seasoned poetry reader, Catching Life by the Throat is an extraordinary introduction to eight iconic poets.


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Catching Life by the Throat unites the sound, sense, and sensibility that lie at the heart of great poetry. It features eight great poets, with brief, accessible essays concerning their life and work and a selection of their poems, and it is accompanied by an 80-minute CD recorded live at the British Library: Ralph Fiennes reading Auden, Edward Fox reading Eliot, Roger Moo Catching Life by the Throat unites the sound, sense, and sensibility that lie at the heart of great poetry. It features eight great poets, with brief, accessible essays concerning their life and work and a selection of their poems, and it is accompanied by an 80-minute CD recorded live at the British Library: Ralph Fiennes reading Auden, Edward Fox reading Eliot, Roger Moore reading Kipling, Harold Pinter reading Larkin, and more.Whether you believe (like Robert Frost, who inspired the title) that poetry is a way of taking life by the throat or (like T. S. Eliot) that it is one person talking to another, nobody does it better than the poets featured in this book. For a novice discovering the rich heritage of English-language verse or a seasoned poetry reader, Catching Life by the Throat is an extraordinary introduction to eight iconic poets.

30 review for Catching Life by the Throat: How to Read Poetry and Why [With CD]

  1. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    What a great introduction to, as Josephine Hart categorizes them, "Eight Great Poets"! Although familiar with Emily Dickinson, T.S. Eliot, and Sylvia Plath, I was happy to be introduced to the work of Auden, Kipling, Larkin, Marianne Moore, and Yeats; how I managed to have missed them all these years, I do not know. I particularly surprised myself by really liking Larkin. Hart introduces each poet with a short biography, then a line or two on each of the poems included in the collection, and then What a great introduction to, as Josephine Hart categorizes them, "Eight Great Poets"! Although familiar with Emily Dickinson, T.S. Eliot, and Sylvia Plath, I was happy to be introduced to the work of Auden, Kipling, Larkin, Marianne Moore, and Yeats; how I managed to have missed them all these years, I do not know. I particularly surprised myself by really liking Larkin. Hart introduces each poet with a short biography, then a line or two on each of the poems included in the collection, and then the poems themselves. I could hear her voice (having listened to a couple of CDs that collect segments of her Poetry Hour) in the bios and intros, and although I am far from understanding every poem, I'm happy to have had this introduction.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    Although subtitled "How to Read Poetry and Why," the how mostly comes from listening to the accompanying CD and the why is mostly missing. The biographical sketches and artistic summaries are interesting but do not merit the subtitle. The CD includes many great actors and is enlightening; I consider it the best part of the book. Although subtitled "How to Read Poetry and Why," the how mostly comes from listening to the accompanying CD and the why is mostly missing. The biographical sketches and artistic summaries are interesting but do not merit the subtitle. The CD includes many great actors and is enlightening; I consider it the best part of the book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte

    The title caught my eye. I haven't read classic poetry since high school, so I thought I'd give the genre a try. I liked the editor's introduction, but the quality of audio recording varied. In the first track someone is coughing. In other tracks I hear paper rustling and metal clinking. Maybe this didn't bother most people, but I'm going to look for a different gateway to classic poetry. The title caught my eye. I haven't read classic poetry since high school, so I thought I'd give the genre a try. I liked the editor's introduction, but the quality of audio recording varied. In the first track someone is coughing. In other tracks I hear paper rustling and metal clinking. Maybe this didn't bother most people, but I'm going to look for a different gateway to classic poetry.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Peach Radvan

    Mhwerrrrrrr even though it was short, the only reason I forced myself through it, was because I'd already paid for it. I like the parts where they talk a bit about the poets but then it's just poems I've already read 100 times for Year 12 English. Mhwerrrrrrr even though it was short, the only reason I forced myself through it, was because I'd already paid for it. I like the parts where they talk a bit about the poets but then it's just poems I've already read 100 times for Year 12 English.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I do not read poetry very often and checked it out on a whim. This turned out to be a very good coincidence. It was an eye-opening experience.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Listening to these poems read in a crisp British accent did make them come alive, but overall I was disappointed. I know that part of the reason I am continually disappointed in brilliant classics resides in the fact that much of their ideas or sentences or innovations are now common and widespread whether in popular culture or books or movies. For example, Auden’s ‘If I could tell you’ is lovely, but I am sure more powerful if you haven’t heard the phrase ‘time will say nothing but I told you Listening to these poems read in a crisp British accent did make them come alive, but overall I was disappointed. I know that part of the reason I am continually disappointed in brilliant classics resides in the fact that much of their ideas or sentences or innovations are now common and widespread whether in popular culture or books or movies. For example, Auden’s ‘If I could tell you’ is lovely, but I am sure more powerful if you haven’t heard the phrase ‘time will say nothing but I told you so’ in myriad evolutions. Hearing it read out loud by Ralph Fiennes was sublime, however. I do feel the sweet honest pure love that lives in the poem, the wish to be able to tell your love the secrets of the universe, the reasons for evil, and their ultimate fate. There are no fortunes to be told, although, Because I love you more than I can say, If I could tell you, I would let you know. Auden’s ‘O Tell me the truth about love’ combines humor and seriousness about the perception of what love is, and how it comes, and how it smells, tastes, feels, and made me laugh out loud. There was a subversive cynicism and anger brimming under the humor which will exclude it from any wedding readings, I am sure. When it comes, will it come without warning Just as I am picking my nose? Will it knock on my door in the morning. Or tread in the bus on my toes? Will it come like a change in the weather? Will its greeting be courteous or rough? Will it alter my life altogether? O tell me the truth about love. Emily Dickinson’s poems moved me less than this comment about her: that she realized that ‘her unusual endowment of love was not going to be asked for.' That her thousand poems express such love is a melancholy yet beautiful thought, if you think of all the people in the world, and how they can live anonymously yet have such treasures within, to be discovered. How can you be a pessimist after reading some of her poems, even her difficult or bitter? Sylvia Plath’s ‘The Applicant’ is timeless, a lament for the way we choose our mates or our unrequited loves choose theirs. …Open your hand. Empty? Empty. Here is a hand To fill it and willing To bring teacups and roll away headaches And do whatever you tell it. Will you marry it? It is guaranteed To thumb shut your eyes at the end And dissolve of sorrow. We make new stock from the salt… Now your head, excuse me, is empty. I have the ticket for that. Come here, sweetie, out of the closet. Well what do you think of that? Naked as paper to start But in twenty-five years she’ll be silver, In fifty, gold. A living doll, everywhere you look. It can sew, it can cook, It can talk, talk, talk. It works, there is nothing wrong with it. You have a hole, it’s a poultice. You have an eye, it’s an image. My boy, it’s your last resort, Will you marry it, marry it, marry it? An eternal truth about war from Kipling: If any question why we died, Tell them, because our fathers lied.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Fergie

    Poetry has the ability to inspire. I've found poets to grasp what we often can't in life, with their ability to put into words the deeper meanings of things. Often, the words play like music. I suspect it's one reason why I gravitate towards authors who write lyrical prose (to this day, poet & author Emily Bronte, remains one of my favorites). I've had this book for years. It sat on my bookshelf due to my hestitancy to delve into the worlds and words of poets I tended to shy away from -- Sylvia Poetry has the ability to inspire. I've found poets to grasp what we often can't in life, with their ability to put into words the deeper meanings of things. Often, the words play like music. I suspect it's one reason why I gravitate towards authors who write lyrical prose (to this day, poet & author Emily Bronte, remains one of my favorites). I've had this book for years. It sat on my bookshelf due to my hestitancy to delve into the worlds and words of poets I tended to shy away from -- Sylvia Plath for one. What eventually drew me in was the presence of other poets whom I enjoyed in the past (despite my lack of knowledge of most of their work) -- such poets as Rudyard Kipling, W.H. Auden, T.S. Eliot, and Emily Dickinson. I was introduced to poets who, despite their looming presence in the world of poetry, I had not previously known -- poets such as Philip Larkin and Marianne Moore. It's interesting to note the selection of poets and poems Hart chose to dissect. She did a good job showing her wide range of knowledge and subject matter. The book comes with a CD of the poems being read by various actors/artists (Ralph Fiennes & Elizabeth McGovern among them)which is a nice complement to the book. I admit that I'll always prefer the words of Shakespeare, Barrett Browning, Frost & Yeats to some of the poets chosen here, but it was a nice detour to be able to be exposed to poets whom I had previously not been -- or to whom I had limited exposure.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sophie

    Poetry isn’t usually my thing, but this got reviewed on Blogging For a Good Book so I thought I'd give it a shot. And it’s nice, a short bio of each poet and a selection of poems from each. I have to read poems out loud to get them in any real sense so it wasn’t a book for the train, but the accompanying CD was fun to use as well, to hear how actors read differently to how I heard. My favourite of the 8 is probably Auden, but I’d not read any Dickinson, that was a nice awakening. Poetry isn’t usually my thing, but this got reviewed on Blogging For a Good Book so I thought I'd give it a shot. And it’s nice, a short bio of each poet and a selection of poems from each. I have to read poems out loud to get them in any real sense so it wasn’t a book for the train, but the accompanying CD was fun to use as well, to hear how actors read differently to how I heard. My favourite of the 8 is probably Auden, but I’d not read any Dickinson, that was a nice awakening.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I appreciated the layout and accompanying CD. Also, hearing a selection of the poems was helpful, but I was disappointed by how many were not included in the recording. The brief introduction to each of the eight poets and their poems was helpful. Still, it left me wanting a bit more. I'm glad I read the book and certainly feel a familiarity with some poets I'd previously missed. I appreciated the layout and accompanying CD. Also, hearing a selection of the poems was helpful, but I was disappointed by how many were not included in the recording. The brief introduction to each of the eight poets and their poems was helpful. Still, it left me wanting a bit more. I'm glad I read the book and certainly feel a familiarity with some poets I'd previously missed.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ciara

    It's 12 years since I studied some of these "great poems" and poets in school. I'm horrified at how much I've forgotten - all those hours of studying Ok - have to admit that my initial enthuasiasm wore off and I didn't bother to read all the poems. It's 12 years since I studied some of these "great poems" and poets in school. I'm horrified at how much I've forgotten - all those hours of studying Ok - have to admit that my initial enthuasiasm wore off and I didn't bother to read all the poems.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Candice

    If you'd like to write more poetry then this can be a good book for you. If you don't write, then you might not appreciate it. If you'd like to write more poetry then this can be a good book for you. If you don't write, then you might not appreciate it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    TheReadingSiren

    This is a good book to get familiar with some incredible poets and see which of them you would like to explore more deeply into

  13. 5 out of 5

    Katarína Laurošková

  14. 5 out of 5

    Katie

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Benemerito

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ally

  17. 5 out of 5

    Anna

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jean Maguire

  19. 4 out of 5

    E.J. Cullen

  20. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa Cheeks

  21. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Mantle

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

  24. 4 out of 5

    Agumom

  25. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

  26. 4 out of 5

    Brendan Clarke

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rem

  28. 4 out of 5

    Anne Gallagher

  29. 4 out of 5

    Martin Farrar

  30. 5 out of 5

    Shelby

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