Who said poetry readings had to be stuffy, unglamorous affairs? Scores of celebrities, including Sex and the City’s Cynthia Nixon (pictured, far left) and Catherine Zeta-Jones, are creating their own verse-case scenarios. On April 2, GPR Records will release Poetic License, a three-CD set that features 100 poems performed by 100 famous names. (The disc will be available on Amazon and iTunes.) Each star picked a favorite poem to read on the spoken-word compilation, which is arriving just in time for National Poetry Month. Selections include Lewis Carroll’s “The Walrus and the Carpenter” (Jason Alexander), Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “The Day Is Done” (Florence Henderson), Emily Dickinson’s “Because I Could Not Stop for Death” (Kate Mulgrew), and Edward Field’s “New Yorkers” (veteran TLC host Paige Davis).
EW is pleased to share two advance tracks from Poetic License. First, it’s Cynthia Nixon reading A.A. Milne’s “Vespers,” the first work the author wrote featuring his son, Christopher Robin. (Milne went on to write a book of children’s poetry, When We Were Very Young, that included a verse about a then-unnamed teddy bear who “however hard he tries grows tubby without exercise.”) You can easily imagine Nixon reading “Vespers” at bed-side to her own children.
Cynthia Nixon reading "Vespers"
In our second audio clip from Poetic License, Catherine Zeta-Jones reads William Wordsworth's springtime classic "Daffodils." She intones the poem in classic fashion, with more of a trained stage voice (the actress is now appearing on Broadway, after all, in A Little Night Music) than the Welsh lilt of her childhood.
Catherine Zeta-Jones reading “Daffodils”