The Poets on Poets project is an audio archive that testifies to the continued importance of Romanticism in the contemporary poetry world. The premise of the collection is simple: we have asked practicing poets from around the world to read a Romantic-period poem that they particularly admire and that has influenced the way in which they think about their craft. The results are gathered here. As Jerome McGann observes in his preface to the archive, reading a poem aloud is an interpretive act, and each of these recordings understands, engages, and invigorates the original text in a different way, often with provocative results. We hope that the multiple oral versions of poems that this archive brings together will be one of the great strengths of the collection and a source of inspiration for teachers, students, and those who love poetry.
Each entry in the archive includes a literal textual transcription of the poem as it was recorded (not necessarily as it has appeared in print). Variation happens, especially in performance. We provide here only texts of exactly what the reading poet actually says on the recording. Inevitably, printed texts are multiple and contain variants. We recommend readers and listeners compare these oral performances with one or more printed or electronic scholarly editions, perhaps beginning with those hosted by or recommended by Romantic Circles.
The editor wishes to thank all the poets who have generously contributed to this project and invites other published poets to continue adding to the archive. A particular debt of gratitude is owed to Adrian Blevins, Patrick Phillips, Sebastian Matthews, and Charles Bernstein who helped to bring so many writers to the project in the early stages. Without them, this archive would not have been possible.