A Child's Garden of Poetry Review

Few children in this country are raised with a genuine appreciation for poetry. For most kids, poetry and lyric verse is just another unit in their grade school and high school English courses that they consume begrudgingly with the hopes that the material in the next unit won’t be broken up into iambic pentameter. Is there a way to fix that? Can we do a better job instilling a love for poetry in youth whose every second of attention is fought for between television, the internet, friends, family, and everything else? In an age of instant gratification, where speed is king, poetry seems to run entirely against the grain. To appreciate the works of Langston Hughes, Robert Frost, William Butler Yeats or William Wadsworth, a certain degree of patience and contemplation is required; to that effect, God bless HBO for attempting to find a delivery system for poetry in A Child’s Garden of Poetry that at least attempts to show children it can be appreciated by people their own age. Besides, who among us wouldn’t love to have grown up having Liam Neeson, Carrie Fisher, and Philip Seymour Hoffman reading them poetry?

A Child’s Garden of Poetry isn’t filled with groundbreaking games that immerse children in a world of poetry or modernized versions of classic poems set to contemporary beats. Instead, it’s very simple and straightforward approach is to have a collection of recognizable voices and children read the poems out loud. It’s only 30-minutes long, but A Child’s Garden of Poetry comes like a brief respite from hyperactive cartoons and iPod shuffles. It’s the eye in the storm, and if you should so happen to usher your children into it, here’s hoping they come away with the potential for a deeper appreciation of poetry later on seeded in their minds.

The disc includes poems by Robert Louis Stevenson, Robert Frost, Matsuo Basho, Li Bai, Claude McKay, William Butler Yeats, Langston Hughes, Edward Lear, William Shakespeare, Mary Ann Hoberman, Emily Dickinson and William Wadsworth as read by Claire Danes, Carrie Fisher, Julianne Moore, Josh Hamilton, Ziggy Marley, Liam Neeson, Natalie Merchant, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Dave Matthews and Jeffrey Wright.  Also included are archival recordings by renowned poets E.E. Cummings, Edna St. Vincent Millay and Carl Sandburg.

DVD Bonus Features

There are none.

"A Child's Garden of Poetry" is on sale November 8, 2011 and is not rated. Children & Family, Education. Directed by Amy Schatz. Starring Julianne Moore.

Lex Walker • Editor

He's a TV junkie with a penchant for watching the same movie six times in one sitting. If you really want to understand him you need to have grown up on Sgt. Bilko, Alien, Jurassic Park and Five Easy Pieces playing in an infinite loop. Recommend something to him - he'll watch it.


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