Hear Alec Guinness (The Legend Behind Obi-Wan Kenobi) Read T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets & The Waste Land

≡ Category: Poetry |1 Comment

Those who only know T.S. Eliot from such early poems as “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and The Waste Land may be surprised to encounter what many critics consider his greatest work, the Four Quartets.


Patti Smith Creates a Detailed Packing List for Going on Tour: Haruki Murakami Books, Loquat Tea & More

≡ Category: Life, Literature, Music, Poetry, Travel |Leave a Comment


Packing lists are not inherently punk rock.
But the handwritten packing list Godmother of Punk Patti Smith scrawled upside down on a photocopied receipt from a children’s bookstore on the eve of a 40-date European tour comes close.


Hear Jeremy Irons Read T.S. Eliot’s ‘The Naming of Cats’ (For a Limited Time)

≡ Category: Audio Books, Poetry |8 Comments


Briefly noted: For a limited time (for the next 23 days, to be precise), you can hear Jeremy Irons reading “The Naming of Cats,” a poem from T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (1939). The poem will certainly sound familiar to anyone who has ever seen Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, Cats.


John Astin, From The Addams Family, Recites “The Raven” as Edgar Allan Poe

≡ Category: Literature, Poetry, Television, Theatre |7 Comments


How fitting that the head of The Addams Family would harbor a lifelong obsession with author Edgar Allan Poe.
In the spirit of full disclosure, we should clarify that the true Poe fanboy is not the fictional Gomez Addams, but rather the first actor to bring the character to life, John Astin, of television fame.

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Stan Lee Reads “The Night Before Christmas,” Telling the Tale of Santa Claus, the Greatest of Super Heroes

≡ Category: Comics/Cartoons, Poetry |Leave a Comment

“He would turn over in his grave if he knew I’m about to read this,” says Stan Lee, Marvel Comics’ grand poo-bah, before launching into Clement Clarke Moore’s “The Night Before Christmas.


Hear All Three of Jack Kerouac’s Spoken-World Albums: A Sublime Union of Beat Literature and 1950s Jazz

≡ Category: Literature, Poetry |Leave a Comment

At the epicenter of three explosive forces in 1950s America—the birth of Bebop, the spread of Buddhism through the counterculture, and Beat revolutionizing of poetry and prose—sat Jack Kerouac, though I don’t picture him ever sitting for very long.


Leonard Cohen Reads The Great World War I Poem, “In Flanders Fields”

≡ Category: Poetry |Leave a Comment

Courtesy of Legion Magazine, you can hear Canada’s iconic singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen reading “In Flanders Fields” by Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae. The clip was recently recorded to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the poem.

World War I inspired many poems.


The Great Stan Lee Reads Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”

≡ Category: Poetry |Leave a Comment

What work of American poetry has proven more irresistible than Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven? Certainly we can seldom refrain ourselves from featuring it here on Open Culture.


William S. Burroughs Reads His Sarcastic “Thanksgiving Prayer” in a 1988 Film By Gus Van Sant

≡ Category: Film, Poetry |Leave a Comment

Having moved to Korea a couple weeks ago, I won’t have the chance to partake this year in the beloved institution of American culture known as Thanksgiving. (Korea has its own Thanksgiving, but it happened two months ago.


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