Bill Murray Reads Wallace Stevens Poems — “The Planet on The Table” and “A Rabbit as King of the Ghosts”

On June 11th, Poets House hosted The 17th Annual Poetry Walk Across the Brooklyn Bridge. The event features “readings of the poetry of Walt Whitman, Marianne Moore, Langston Hughes and other greats,” all in order to raise funds for the New York City non-profit dedicated to cultivating a wider audience for poetry. And the event is regularly attended by the greatest cinematic supporter of Poets House — the actor Bill Murray.

In 2001, Murray took part in the festivities and read three poems: Sarah Manguso’s “What We Miss,” Cole Porter’s “Brush Up,” and Billy Collins’ “Forgetfulness.” (Click links to see the readings.)  This year, he returned and delighted the audience with a reading of two poems by Wallace Stevens: “The Planet on The Table“ and “A Rabbit as King of the Ghosts.”

But if you’re looking for my favorite reading, then I’ll steer you back to 2009, when Murray read poems by Billy Collins, Lorine Niedecker and Emily Dickinson to construction workers building the new home for Poets House. It’s a charming, very Bill Murray moment.

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h/t @webacion



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  1. Nick says . . . | August 20, 2012 / 6:34 am

    Cutlery clanking on crockery. A terrible invention.

  2. Shelley says . . . | August 20, 2012 / 9:55 am

    This may be my favorite post of the day on the Internet. As some critic commented, we can never tell if that look on Bill Murray’s face is going to resolve into humor, resignation, or despair!

  3. Don McDonald says . . . | August 20, 2012 / 4:09 pm

    Thanks for a thoughtful reading. “The Planet on the Table” is a superb summing up of the meaning of a life whose chief dimension was poetry. Haunting.

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