Audiobooks gain fans every day, helping readers while away long commutes, road trips, workouts, and more. Even bibliophiles who prefer the printed page value those bookish recordings as a way to squeeze extra reading into busy days. (How do you think the Bas Bleu editors tackle so many books?) But sometimes what we need most is to stop what we’re doing—if only for a few minutes—and concentrate on nothing but the words. Poetry is ideal on those occasions: Its concise form demands that every word count. And because the only thing better than reading poetry is listening to people read poetry to us, we’re celebrating World Read Aloud Day with seven famous poems read by famous people.

“If You Forget Me,” by Pablo Neruda and read by Madonna

“Children,” by Khalil Gibran and read by James Earl Jones

“Do not go gentle into that good night,” by Dylan Thomas and read by Anthony Hopkins

“Lady Lazarus,” written and read by Sylvia Plath

“The Raven,” by Edgar Allan Poe and read by Vincent Price

“The Tyger,” by William Blake and sung by Patti Smith

“Still I Rise,” written and read by Maya Angelou


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