Books: Spoken word

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Poems read aloud cold and in succession can pall quickly on the ear; we can't jump mood fast enough to enjoy them in a swift sequence; too often, the effect is to annoy. Full marks to Penguin for combining criticism, biography and the poems themselves in a formula that makes one hear even the most familiar ditties with fresh ears and new understanding by putting them in explanatory quotation marks. Jan Marsh presents Christina Rossetti (Penguin, 3hrs, pounds 8.99) with insights from her own biography of the poet, and the collection includes stories and letters as well as poems.

John Keats (Penguin, 2hrs, pounds 8.99) read by David Horovitch and Alex Jennings among others, includes not only the predictable "Odes", "The Eve of St Agnes" and "Belle Dame", but also illuminating early work.

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