Classic Jam Hits

Poetry Friday: The Great Year, Shakespeare, Eliot, Blake, Poems on Work & Poems on Mythology Human Voices Wake Us

Earlier this year, I thought it was possible to supplement this podcast with one weekly (and shorter) additional reading over at Substack; for many reasons, that ambition proved impossible to maintain. Since an illness has kept me from recording a new episode this week, I thought it worthwhile collecting those six weeks of shorter readings here: 3 Poems from my long work-in-progress, The Great Year: “The Autumn Village,” “I was in Iceland centuries ago, ” “Smith Looks Up the Long Road” Two readings from Shakespeare: “Of comfort no man speak” (Richard II, act II scene 2), “All the world’s a stage” (As You Like It, act II scene 7) 3 Poems on Work: Philip Levine (1928-2015): “Among Children,” Elma Mitchell (1919-2000), “Thoughts After Ruskin," Mary Robinson (1758-1800), “A London Summer Morning” Favorites from T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets Three Poets & Mythology: Eavan Boland (1944-2020), “The Making of an Irish Goddess," Michael Longley (b. 1939) “The Butchers," Robert Pinsky (b. 1940), “The Figured Wheel” Blake & His Animals: Three passages from William Blake (1757-1827): one from Visions of the Daughters of Albion and the last two from Milton. I hope that plucking these three passages from his longer work can suggest how varied—not just how prophetic and opaque, but simply beautiful—so much of his poetry can be. Don’t forget to support Human Voices Wake Us on Substack, where you can also get our newsletter and other extras. You can also support the podcast by ordering any of my books: Notes from the Grid, To the House of the Sun, The Lonely Young & the Lonely Old, and Bone Antler Stone. Any comments, or suggestions for readings I should make in later episodes, can be emailed to — Send in a voice message: Support this podcast:
  1. Poetry Friday: The Great Year, Shakespeare, Eliot, Blake, Poems on Work & Poems on Mythology
  2. Caravaggio's Severed Heads / Herodotus Among the Scythians / Ian McKellen on Macbeth
  3. Raising a Musical Prodigy / God's Response to Job
  4. Seamus Heaney: 10 Essential Poems
  5. Psalm 23 / Mary, Queen of Scots is Executed / 3 Poems by Mary Oliver
  6. Shakespeare's Library / Ancient Egypt's Temple Libraries / Seamus Heaney Goes to School
  7. Cities Under Siege: The Gauls Sack Rome / Occupied Paris / William Blake's London
  8. Bruce Springsteen / Simon Schama / The Iliad
  9. Oppenheimer & the Bomb
  10. Rachel Carson on the Deep History of the Sea

Going through my computer the other day, I found the .pdfs of these classic book sets, and thought to post them here for whoever wants them: Frazer’s The Golden Bough, The Mythology of All Races, and Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament. [An update in 2021, I’ve now added a translation of the eleventh-century Irish Lebor Gabála Érenn] Whatever their limitations now, they are still great resources. I can’t remember where I found them, but it’s probably still difficult to cobble all of these sets together on one page. So I can at least offer that: 


Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, edited by James B. Pritchard: Volume 1 | Volume 2


The Golden Bough, by James. G. Frazer:

The Magic Art and the Evolution of Kings (Part 1)
The Magic Art and the Evolution of Kings (Part 2)

Taboo and the Perils of the Soul
The Dying God
Adonis, Attis, Osiris (Part 1)
Adonis, Attis, Osiris (Part 2)
Spirits of the Corn and of the Wild (Part 1)
Spirits of the Corn and of the Wild (Part 2)
The Scapegoat
Balder the Beautiful (Part 1)
Balder the Beautiful (Part 2)
Bibliography and General Index
Aftermath & Supplement


The Mythology of All Races, edited by George Herbert Reed

Greek & Roman, by William Sherwood Fox
Eddic, by John Arnott MacCulloch
Celtic and Slavic, by John Arnott MacCulloch and Jan Máchal

Finno-Ugric and Siberian, by Uno Holmberg
Semitic, by Stephen Herbert Langdon
Indian and Iranian, by Arthur Berriedale Keith and Albert Joseph Carnoy
Armenian and African, by Mardiros Harootioon Ananikian and Alice Werner
Chinese and Japanese, by John Calvin Ferguson and Masaharu Anesaki
Oceanic, by Roland Burrage Dixon
North American, by Hartley Burr Alexander
Latin American, by Hartley Burr Alexander
Egyptian and Indo-Chinese, by Wilhelm Max Müller and James George Scott
Complete Index


R. A. S. Macalister’s five-volume translation of the c.11th century Irish Lebor Gabála Érenn, published between 1938 and 1956, can be downloaded here. Read about the Lebor Gabála Érenn, or visit the website of its publisher, the Irish Texts Society.

Lebor Gabála Érenn, volume 1
Lebor Gabála Érenn, volume 2
Lebor Gabála Érenn, volume 3
Lebor Gabála Érenn, volume 4
Lebor Gabála Érenn, volume 5