Verses In Vox

Verses In Vox

Verses In Vox™ is a short-form audio program featuring dramatic readings of classic poetry. It's a vehicle to experience these well-loved works in a new way while at the same time introducing them to a new audience.... Show More

Episodes

May 4, 2019 3 min
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote the poem "Excelsior" in the early morning hours of September 28, 1841, and it was published for the first time in a periodical four months later. Excelsior is a Latin word which loosely translated means "ever upward" or "always higher". With that in mind, this poem could be interpreted as a sort of allegory on perseverance and always striving against the odds, or alternativel...
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First published in a periodical just a few days before Christmas in 1888, "Christmas at Sea" is a vivid narrative poem that pulls the reader into the scenes. The stark contrast between the warm, domestic scene and the freezing weather onboard the ship is very poignant and is the most interesting part of the piece to me. While the Scottish writer is known more for his novels, he also wrote three volumes of poetry with the fi...
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Born in rural Massachusetts in 1807, John Greenleaf Whittier began to write poetry at a young age with his first poem being published in the summer of 1826. Shortly thereafter, he began working as an editor of various periodicals. The poem "In School-days" was written in 1869 and Whittier may have drawn a bit on his own experience as a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse. The poem was praised by the public as well as by other...
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Probably the most well-known poem by Walt Whitman, "O Captain! My Captain!" is a moving metaphor for President Abraham Lincoln's leadership of the country during the Civil War and his assassination which shocked the nation. This poem is actually only one of a handful that Whitman wrote in honor of Lincoln, whom he greatly admired. "O Captain" was written in 1865 shortly after the death of the President and was p...
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Mary Leapor was a young poet born into Britain's working class. She died at the young age of 24 and therefore her body of work is not very large, but it contains some lengthy pieces which are quite respected and have received much acclaim to this day. Published posthumously in 1748, "The Crucifixion and Resurrection. An Ode." is a beautiful and vivid depiction of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. Leapor reco...
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February 20, 2018 1 min
The poem "Eldorado" was first published in 1849 in the Boston-based periodical, The Flag of Our Union, a publication which also printed works from Louisa May Alcott. Incidentally, this poem was published just a little over five months before Edgar Allan Poe would meet his untimely–and still unexplained–death. Poe is, of course, known for his melancholy and dark writings and although there are some gray undertones in "El...
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November 22, 2017 1 min
"Autumn Fires" was first published in 1885 in a volume titled Penny Whistles which contained over 60 poems, including "My Shadow", "The Lamplighter", and "The Land of Story-books". The collection was later re-titled A Child’s Garden of Verses and has been reprinted many times. Robert Louis Stevenson is, of course, well-known for his short stories and novels, such as the pirate adventure story, Treasu...
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October 15, 2017 2 min
While she wrote dozens of poems, Emma Lazarus is most known for "The New Colossus" and information about much of her other work is scarce. Indeed, information regarding "Afternoon" is almost nonexistent online. This beautiful, narrative piece is filled with vivid visuals that draw the reader into the scene. It takes very little effort to feel as though one is walking alongside the unnamed "her" in the poem. ...
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August 31, 2017 1 min
American born, Jewish poet, Emma Lazarus wrote this now famous sonnet in 1883 for the purpose of aiding the Bartholdi Pedestal Fund for the Statue of Liberty as Lazarus notes on the original manuscript of the poem (pictured below). Unfortunately, she never saw the poem enshrined on Liberty Island as the plaque bearing the poem's text was not affixed to the pedestal wall until 1903; over a decade and a half after Lazarus' de...
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This popular poem by American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, was first published in the literary magazine, The Knickerbocker, in 1838. The following year, this poem was collected with several other early Longfellow works and published in a volume titled Voices of the Night. Longfellow revisits the idea of likening poems to psalms as well as other themes from “A Psalm of Life" in subsequent works on several other occasions, i...
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Written and published in the winter of 1854, "The Charge of the Light Brigade" memorializes the story of the British soldiers who fought in the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War. The battle, in which the Russian forces had soundly defeated the British, had just taken place less than two months prior when Tennyson wrote this poem. One survivor of the defeated cavalry regiment, the 11th Hussars, Private Thomas Willia...
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May 30, 2017 1 min
American lyric poet, Sara Teasdale, was born in 1884 in Missouri. She published her first poem in a newspaper in 1907 followed by a volume of her poetry later that year. In 1950, science fiction writer, Ray Bradbury published a short story which contained Teasdale's poem, "There Will Come Soft Rains" and Bradbury also used that as his story's title. Many of her poems have been put to music over the years, including ...
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Written in 1889, when Tennyson was about 80 years old, "Crossing The Bar" is one of his last pieces of poetry. The elegy embraces similar themes as many of Alfred, Lord Tennyson's other works as he once again uses references to the sea; this time to make his point about the ending of life on earth. Tennyson seemed to view the piece as a bookend of sorts to his work and requested that this poem be placed last in all futu...
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First published in 1840, "The Village Blacksmith" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is a wonderful example of a short, narrative poem. It not only tells the reader a story, but it is one which many can relate to since it is really a story of the "everyman". After its initial publication in a periodical, "The Village Blacksmith" was then included in a volume of Longfellow's works entitled Ballads and Other Po...
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February 16, 2017 2 min
Emma Lazarus was an American poet who was writing during the late 1800s. She is most known for her sonnet in honor of The Statue of Liberty, "The New Colossus". Her poem, "Florence Nightingale", was written on March 7, 1867 and was first published in 1871. There are conflicting opinions about the accuracy of this poem's portrayal of the woman known as "The Mother of Modern Nursing" and "The Lady with...
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English poet, Elizabeth Barrett Browning was born in 1806 and is believed to have written her first poem at the young age of 6. Unlike many classic poets, Barrett Browning was quite well respected and her works were well received during her lifetime. Among the admirers of her work were Emily Dickinson and Edgar Allen Poe; the latter even dedicated a volume of his poems to her in 1845. Perhaps most known for her sonnets and especial...
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September 30, 2016 59 sec
"The Eagle" was first published in 1851, shortly after Tennyson was appointed as Poet Laureate of Britain in 1850; a position he held until his death in 1892. In spite of its short length, "The Eagle" still contains a lot of meaning. It is packed with beautiful imagery and the iambic tetrameter Tennyson employs allows the words to flow off the tongue in an easy rhythm. It is simply a delightful piece to read and con...
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Perhaps better known for his fiction works such as Treasure Island and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson was also a prolific poet, publishing a handful of collections of poems. "My Shadow" was first published in 1885 in a collection titled A Child’s Garden of Verses. The poem is a wonderful snapshot of childhood wonder and innocence.
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American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, wrote "The Children's Hour" about his relationship with his own three daughters, even using their names in the piece. It was first published in 1860 in the Boston-based magazine, The Atlantic Monthly. Subsequent publishings were often accompanied by a portrait of the three girls. The poem is a beautiful look at a father's love for his children, but also contains the bitters...
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English writer, Charlotte Brontë, is probably best known for her novel, Jane Eyre, although she wrote a handful of other novels as well as many poems. For many years she wrote and published her works under the pseudonym, Currer Bell. The poem, Evening Solace, was first published in 1846 as part of a collection of pieces by Charlotte and her two sisters, Emily and Anne.
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