April was National Poetry Month in the US, a fact that might have passed me by had I not been a long-time follower of David over at The Dad Poet.I first came across his blog when I spotted his reading of John Keats’ Ode to Autumn on YouTube. He has a wonderful voice for reading poetry. He read Keats with an American accent; yet his reading was better than many of the all-too-theatrical versions by British actors who often fail to make the words feel authentic. After all, Keats had, by all accounts, a London, rather than an Old Etonian accent. Great actors such as Sir Ralph Richardson read Keats as they would read Shelley or Byron. Not wrong exactly, but not quite right for me.
Back to The Dad Poet, as he says not to be confused with the Dead Poet. In April he pledged to post a poem a day; offering a video of his reading, not simply the text. Sometimes he would include a reading by an actor – there were some marvelous readings by Matthew MacFadyen (here reading Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29 for example.) But at all times he let the poems take the centre stage and his selection was wide and eclectic: Stevie Smith, W.H. Auden, the wonderful Robert Frost (and a rather poor early Keats poem…) Maya Angelou, Frank O’Hara, May Swenson and the great Billy Collins. I was introduced to collections I had barely dipped into.