What I'm Reading

Sounds of History

It’s amazing.

There are recordings of Robert Frost and William Butler Yeats reading their poems. The existence of Frost’s recording is not so extraordinary as he was alive at the time of JFK’s inauguration.

But Yeats – he was born in 1865, just after the American Civil War. When you hear his voice reading “Lake Isle of Insinfree” you are hearing the sound of the British Imperial era, the sounds of World War I.

So much more about the poem and its author is conveyed through the poet’s haggard voice.

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