When the coronavirus pandemic first sent Melbourne into lockdown, I looked for things to bring me comfort. One of the first things I discovered was actor Samuel West’s Soundcloud which he’d begun, similarly to find comfort. I’ve always been fond of West, since he played Prince Caspian in the 1989 TV adaptation of The Voyage of the Dawntreader. Latterly, I’ve been casting him in my head as my John Watson in some of my Holmesian novels.
As of 9 July, Sam West has posted 351 poems, mostly requested by his followers on Soundcloud and Twitter. He’s delivered a lot of poems by British and American poets, but also sought out those by poets of other nations. Most are read by him but also those read by his parents, Timothy West and Prunella Scales, and by poets and actors, including Lou Brealey from Sherlock, Paterson Joseph, Natalie Dormer, Gemma Whelan.
I’ve heard Donne and Tennyson, Phillip Larkin and Carol Ann Duffy. Henry Lawson. Sylvia Plath. Dorothy Parker and Mary Oliver. I’ve heard lyrics read as poems, poems 50 seconds long and other that for for nearly 15 minutes. I’ve discovered new poets and rediscovered old favourites.
I’ve requested poems (he read a very funny one by PG Wodehouse!) and some of the poems brought me comfort when my father passed away in May.
I don’t know if you’re into poetry at all – I go in and out of it myself, but this channel has rekindled my fondness for the form – but if you’d like some fascinating words read in perfect voices, you can do worse than visit Pandemic Poems to see what if might provide for you.
A few favourites: