The Well Read Poem podcast

The Well Read Poem

Thomas Banks

Because reading is interpretation, The Well Read Poem aims to teach you how to read with understanding! Hosted by poet Thomas Banks of The House of Humane Letters, these short episodes will introduce you to both well-known and obscure poets and will focus on daily recitation, historical and intellectual background, elements of poetry, light explication, and more! Play this podcast daily and practice reciting! The next week, get a new poem. Grow in your understanding and love of poetry by learning how to read well! Brought to you by The Literary Life Podcast.

30 Episodes

  • The Well Read Poem podcast

    S5E6: "Summer Evening" by Walter de la Mare

    8:25

    Welcome to Season 5 of The Well Read Poem with poet and classicist Thomas Banks. Throughout this season, we will be exploring the poetry of Walter de la Mare. De la Mare was a great Gothic writer and was very interested in the atmosphere of the uncanny. Poem begins at timestamp 2:50. Check out our sister podcast, The Literary Life Podcast, for more great discussions of literature! Summer Evening By Walter de la Mare The sandy cat by the Farmer's chair Mews at his knee for dainty fare; Old Rover in his moss-greened house Mumbles a bone, and barks at a mouse; In the dewy fields the cattle lie Chewing the cud 'neath a fading sky; Dobbin at manger pulls his hay: Gone is another summer's day.
  • The Well Read Poem podcast

    S5E5: "Alexander" by Walter de la Mare

    9:03

    Welcome to Season 5 of The Well Read Poem with poet and classicist Thomas Banks. Throughout this season, we will be exploring the poetry of Walter de la Mare. De la Mare was a great Gothic writer and was very interested in the atmosphere of the uncanny. Poem begins at timestamp 2:33. Check out our sister podcast, The Literary Life Podcast, for more great discussions of literature! Alexander By Walter de la Mare It was the Great Alexander, Capped with a golden helm, Sate in the ages, in his floating ship, In a dead calm. Voices of sea-maids singing Wandered across the deep: The sailors labouring on their oars Rowed as in sleep. All the high pomp of Asia, Charmed by that siren lay, Out of their weary and dreaming minds Faded away. Like a bold boy sate their Captain, His glamour withered and gone, In the souls of his brooding mariners, While the song pined on. Time like a falling dew, Life like the scene of a dream Laid between slumber and slumber Only did seem. . . . O Alexander, then, In all us mortals too, Wax not so overbold On the wave dark-blue! Come the calm starry night, Who then will hear Aught save the singing Of the sea-maids clear?
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  • The Well Read Poem podcast

    S5E4: "Polonius" by Walter de la Mare

    9:29

    Welcome to Season 5 of The Well Read Poem with poet and classicist Thomas Banks. Throughout this season, we will be exploring the poetry of Walter de la Mare. De la Mare was a great Gothic writer and was very interested in the atmosphere of the uncanny. Poem begins at timestamp 7:04. Check out our sister podcast, The Literary Life Podcast, for more great discussions of literature! Polonius By Walter de la Mare There haunts in Time's bare house an active ghost, Enamoured of his name, Polonius. He moves small fingers much, and all his speech Is like a sampler of precisest words, Set in the pattern of a simpleton. His mirth floats eerily down chill corridors; His sigh — it is a sound that loves a keyhole; His tenderness a faint court-tarnished thing; His wisdom prates as from a wicker cage; His very belly is a pompous nought; His eye a page that hath forgot his errand. Yet in his bran — his spiritual bran — Lies hid a child's demure, small, silver whistle Which, to his horror, God blows, unawares, And sets men staring. It is sad to think, Might he but don indeed thin flesh and blood, And pace important to Law's inmost room, He would see, much marvelling, one immensely wise, Named Bacon, who, at sound of his youth's step, Would turn and call him Cousin — for the likeness.
  • The Well Read Poem podcast

    S5E3: "Breughel's Winter" by Walter de la Mare

    8:42

    Welcome to Season 5 of The Well Read Poem with poet and classicist Thomas Banks. Throughout this season, we will be exploring the poetry of Walter de la Mare. De la Mare was a great Gothic writer and was very interested in the atmosphere of the uncanny. Poem begins at timestamp 6:25. Check out our sister podcast, The Literary Life Podcast, for more great discussions of literature! Breughel's Winter By Walter de la Mare Jagg'd mountain peaks and skies ice-green Wall in the wild, cold scene below. Churches, farms, bare copse, the sea In freezing quiet of winter show; Where ink-black shapes on fields in flood Curling, skating, and sliding go. To left, a gabled tavern; a blaze; Peasants; a watching child; and lo, Muffled, mute--beneath naked trees In sharp perspective set a-row-- Trudge huntsmen, sinister spears aslant, Dogs snuffling behind them in the snow; And arrowlike, lean, athwart the air Swoops into space a crow. But flame, nor ice, nor piercing rock, Nor silence, as of a frozen sea, Nor that slant inward infinite line Of signboard, bird, and hill, and tree, Give more than subtle hint of him Who squandered here life's mystery.
  • The Well Read Poem podcast

    S5E2: "Ghost" by Walter de la Mare

    9:55

    Welcome to Season 5 of The Well Read Poem with poet and classicist Thomas Banks. Throughout this season, we will be exploring the poetry of Walter de la Mare. De la Mare was a great Gothic writer and was very interested in the atmosphere of the uncanny. Poem begins at timestamp  . Check out our sister podcast, The Literary Life Podcast, for more great discussions of literature! Ghost By Walter de la Mare 'Who knocks? ' 'I, who was beautiful Beyond all dreams to restore, I from the roots of the dark thorn am hither, And knock on the door.' 'Who speaks? ' 'I -- once was my speech Sweet as the bird's on the air, When echo lurks by the waters to heed; 'Tis I speak thee fair.' 'Dark is the hour!' 'Aye, and cold.' 'Lone is my house.' 'Ah, but mine? ' 'Sight, touch, lips, eyes gleamed in vain.' 'Long dead these to thine.' Silence. Still faint on the porch Brake the flames of the stars. In gloom groped a hope-wearied hand Over keys, bolts, and bars. A face peered. All the grey night In chaos of vacancy shone; Nought but vast sorrow was there -- The sweet cheat gone.
  • The Well Read Poem podcast

    S5E1: "All That's Past" by Walter de la Mare

    8:04

    Welcome to Season 5 of The Well Read Poem with poet and classicist Thomas Banks. Throughout this season, we will be exploring the poetry of Walter de la Mare. De la Mare was a poet's poet and wrote across a variety of genres but is not as well known today as he deserves to be. Poem begins at timestamp 5:57. Check out our sister podcast, The Literary Life Podcast, for more great discussions of literature! All That's Past By Walter de la Mare VERY old are the woods; And the buds that break Out of the briar's boughs, When March winds wake, So old with their beauty are-- Oh, no man knows Through what wild centuries Roves back the rose. Very old are the brooks; And the rills that rise Where snow sleeps cold beneath The azure skies Sing such a history Of come and gone, Their every drop is as wise As Solomon. Very old are we men; Our dreams are tales Told in dim Eden By Eve's nightingales; We wake and whisper awhile, But, the day gone by, Silence and sleep like fields Of amaranth lie.
  • The Well Read Poem podcast

    S4E6: "The Blinded Bird" by Thomas Hardy

    10:03

    Welcome to Season 4 of The Well Read Poem with poet and classicist Thomas Banks. This series of poetry readings will focus on poems having animals as the subject. Some poems will be by well known poets, while others will be by less popular poets. This week’s poem is “The Blinded Bird” by Thomas Hardy. A late Victorian author, Hardy was known for his rather pessimistic writing as well as his defense of the beautiful, innocent and weak creatures of the world. Poem begins at timestamp 7:59. Check out our sister podcast, The Literary Life Podcast, for more great discussions of literature! The Blinded Bird By Thomas Hardy So zestfully canst thou sing? And all this indignity, With God's consent, on thee! Blinded ere yet a-wing By the red-hot needle thou, I stand and wonder how So zestfully thou canst sing! Resenting not such wrong, Thy grievous pain forgot, Eternal dark thy lot, Groping thy whole life long; After that stab of fire; Enjailed in pitiless wire; Resenting not such wrong! Who hath charity? This bird. Who suffereth long and is kind, Is not provoked, though blind And alive ensepulchred? Who hopeth, endureth all things? Who thinketh no evil, but sings? Who is divine? This bird.
  • The Well Read Poem podcast

    S4E5: "A Runnable Stag" by John Davidson

    11:59

    Welcome to Season 4 of The Well Read Poem with poet and classicist Thomas Banks. This series of poetry readings will focus on poems having animals as the subject. Some poems will be by well known poets, while others will be by less popular poets. This week’s poem is “A Runnable Stag” by John Davidson. Poem begins at timestamp 3:29. Check out our sister podcast, The Literary Life Podcast, for more great discussions of literature! A Runnable Stag by John Davidson When the pods went pop on the broom, green broom, And apples began to be golden-skinn'd, We harbour'd a stag in the Priory coomb, And we feather'd his trail up-wind, up-wind, We feather'd his trail up-wind- A stag of warrant, a stag, a stag, A runnable stag, a kingly crop, Brow, bay and tray and three on top, A stag, a runnable stag. Then the huntsman's horn rang yap, yap yap, And 'Forwards' we heard the harbourer shout; But 'twas only a brocket that broke a gap In the beechen underwood, driven out, From the underwood antler'd out By warrant and might of the stag, the stag, The runnable stag, whose lordly mind Was bent on sleep though beam'd and tined He stood, a runnable stag So we tufted the covert till afternoon With Tinkerman's Pup and Bell- of-the-North; And hunters were sulky and hounds out of tune Before we tufted the right stag forth, Before we tufted him forth, The stag of warrant, the wily stag, The runnable stag with his kingly crop, Brow, bay and tray and three on top, The royal and runnable stag. It was Bell-of-the-North and Tinkerman's Pup That stuck to the scent till the copse was drawn. 'Tally ho! tally ho!' and the hunt was up, The tufters whipp'd and the pack laid on, The resolute pack laid on, And the stag of warrant away at last, The runnable stag, the same, the same, His hoofs on fire, his horns like flame, A stag, a runnable stag. 'Let your gelding be: if you check or chide He stumbles at once and you're out of the hunt For three hundred gentlemen, able to ride, On hunters accustom'd to bear the brunt, Accustom'd to bear the brunt, Are after the runnable stag, the stag, The runnable stag with his kingly crop, Brow, bay and tray and three on top, The right, the runnable stag. By perilous paths in coomb and dell, The heather, the rocks, and the river-bed, The pace grew hot, for the scent lay well, And a runnable stag goes right ahead, The quarry went right ahead-- Ahead, ahead, and fast and far; His antler'd crest, his cloven hoof, Brow, bay and tray and three aloof, The stag, the runnable stag. For a matter of twenty miles and more, By the densest hedge and the highest wall, Through herds of bullocks lie baffled the lore Of harbourer, huntsman, hounds and all, Of harbourer, hounds and all The stag of warrant, the wily stag, For twenty miles, and five and five, He ran, and he never was caught alive, This stag, this runnable stag. When he turn'd at bay in the leafy gloom, In the emerald gloom where the brook ran deep He heard in the distance the rollers boom, And he saw In a vision of peaceful sleep In a wonderful vision of sleep, A stag of warrant, a stag, a stag, A runnable stag in a jewell'd bed, Under the sheltering ocean dead, A stag, a runnable stag. So a fateful hope lit up his eye, And he open'd his nostrils wide again, And he toss'd his branching antlers high As he headed the hunt down the Charlock glen, As he raced down the echoing glen For five miles more, the stag, the stag, For twenty miles, and five and five, Not to be caught now, dead or alive, The stag, the runnable stag. Three hundred gentleman, able to ride, Three hundred horses as gallant and free, Beheld him escape on the evening tide, Far out till he sank in the Severn Sea, Till he sank in the depths of the sea The stag, the buoyant stag, the stag That slept at last in a jewell'd bed Under the sheltering ocean spread, The stag, the runnable stag.
  • The Well Read Poem podcast

    S4E4: “Epigram Engraved on the Collar of a Dog Which I Gave to His Highness” by Alexander Pope

    8:12

    Welcome to Season 4 of The Well Read Poem with poet and classicist Thomas Banks. This series of poetry readings will focus on poems having animals as the subject. Some poems will be by well known poets, while others will be by less popular poets. This week’s poem is “Epigram Engraved on the Collar of a Dog Which I Gave to His Highness” by Alexander Pope. Pope is known for his satirical poems and his rather dark sense of humor. Poem begins at timestamp 6:47. Check out our sister podcast, The Literary Life Podcast, for more great discussions of literature! Epigram Engraved on the Collar of a Dog Which I Gave to His Highness By Alexander Pope I am his Highness’ dog at Kew: Pray tell me, Sir, whose dog are you?
  • The Well Read Poem podcast

    S4E3: "The Kraken" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

    9:01

    Welcome to Season 4 of The Well Read Poem with poet and classicist Thomas Banks. This series of poetry readings will focus on poems having animals as the subject. Some poems will be by well known poets, while others will be by less popular poets. This week’s poem is “The Kraken” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Tennyson was perhaps the last poet to achieve popular celebrity in his day, and his inspiration for this poem comes from the Book of Job and Norse folklore. Poem begins at timestamp 6:58. Check out our sister podcast, The Literary Life Podcast, for more great discussions of literature! The Kraken by Alfred, Lord Tennyson Below the thunders of the upper deep; Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea, His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee About his shadowy sides: above him swell Huge sponges of millennial growth and height; And far away into the sickly light, From many a wondrous grot and secret cell Unnumbered and enormous polypi Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green. There hath he lain for ages and will lie Battening upon huge sea-worms in his sleep, Until the latter fire shall heat the deep; Then once by man and angels to be seen, In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.

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