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The Great Poets: John Donne

By: John Donne
Narrated by: Geoffrey Whitehead,Will Keen
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Editor reviews

The best readers of poetry don't recite it; they enact it, taking on the character of the narrator. The poetry of Metaphysical poet John Donne - once ranked with the works of Shakespeare and Milton - has at least two facets, so it's fitting that this production has two narrators. Geoffrey Whitehead brings out the passion of Donne's religious poetry, particularly the selections from the Holy Sonnets, and Will Keen specializes in the poems about love and sensuality. The two voices are very different, echoing the dualism that is one of Donne's hallmarks. Both men remind us of the intense feeling that underlies the formalism of seventeenth-century English poetry at its best.

Summary

Sophisticated wit and intense emotion, religious fervor and erotic sensuality, delight in life’s pleasures and fascination with death, are all to be found in the paradoxical poetry of John Donne. One of the foremost metaphysical poets, Donne’s ingenious metaphors and inspired use of language has earned him affection and reverence in near equal measure to Shakespeare. This collection of his finest poetry showcases the diverse range of his work, and includes "Death Be Not Proud", "A Hymn to God the Father", "For Whom the Bell Tolls", "Go Catch a Falling Star", "The Flea", and "To His Mistress Going to Bed".

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

Public Domain (P)2010 Naxos AudioBooks

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John Donne poems

Extraordinary poet and still so underrated. I'd give this 5 stars if GW were reading it all. He has that rare gift of conveying all the intensity of the verse whilst maintaining its structure. Please can he record more, especially the Meditations?

4 people found this helpful

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  • Anniebligh
  • 16-10-13

Listen to these blokes read Donne


It could be an uncle, a grandad.

Forget Shakespearean oratory and pompous posturing.

Well maybe you may need to understand that the double entendre can work two ways. These are metaphysical poems.

This is no dry preacher watching his mistress getting ready for bed or pontificating about the meeting of souls or minds.

Each piece is named and the interpretation of the lines is just glorious.

I love this recording and I would love more Donne narrated by Whitehead and Keen ( are you reading this NAXOS? )

7 people found this helpful

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  • Paul Adams
  • 22-09-17

great poetry, well read

One of the greatest English poets, and of my favorites. This is a representative selection of Donne's poems, sacred and profane, love and divine poems. The poems are clearly articulated so that the reader can follow the poet's wit and argument, even on a first listen. I found the intermingling of holy sonnets and witty, even bawdy love poems disconcerting. I would have omitted some of these poems and included others. But all that notwithstanding, a fine slection admirably performed. Worth committing the whole to memory.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 29-07-22

All life is in his verses, high and low.

Conceits can be both trying and enchanting, particularly so In Donne ‘s poetry. And Naxos has done a good job by choosing the serious-sounding Geoffrey Whitehead to narrate “ works of his penitential years” and pleasant, lilting Will Keen to recite those he wrote in his wild youth. Verses like The Flea -though made out of very ‘low’ materials- please us immensely and others such as the defiantly titled “Death Be Not Proud” encourage us to be brave in the face of the anything including death. Readers of all ages can find pleasure and refuge in John Donne’s poetry. Let’s crack on with them. Now!