Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poetry, adapted for
performance by Layne Longfellow, has had a striking effect on a wide
population of lovers and non-lovers of poetry. Here are some of each.
"It is high time that the sense and the sound of this
major American voice were brought freshly to our ears."
Poet Laureate of the United States
"I believe my great grandfather and my grandmother
would have loved this work. I am enchanted by it."
Ann Hutchinson Guest, creator, Language of Dance
Granddaughter of Longfellow's "Edith with golden hair"
"A triumph of Longfellow family genetics! Like a
fine wine, to be taken in sips of reflection, as poet and reader build
castles in the mind."
Linkletter, radio and TV legend
"My students love your CD. Longfellow set to music
helps them to see how peaceful poetry can be. They like the fact that
some words are changed; it makes 19th century poetry easier to understand."
Cynthia Daigle, Wisdom
Middle/High School, St. Agatha, Maine
"Layne Longfellow has led the good grey poet Henry
Wadsworth right out of the grave that modernist criticism dug for him.
By reading against the regular meters, like the trochaic tetrameter
of 'Hiawatha,' that so pleased Longfellow's 19th century readers, he
has created a Longfellow for our own time."
B. Faery, Ph.D.
Director, First Year Writing Program, MIT
"Longfellow's words, which were lost to me, have
now come alive."
Shipley, Ph.D., Editor, Connecticut Review
"Layne Longfellow brings far more than his name to
these readingshe invokes the contemplative strength of Henry Longfellow
with grace and resonance. The fabric of music, poetry, and voice that
Michael Hoppe creates with the Longfellows is always pleasurable, and
constantly reaffirms the power of poetry."
Pearl, author, The Dante Club
"Like finding a letter in the attic from a long-forgotten
friend. Layne Longfellow's enchanted readings bring Henry Wadsworth
Longfellow's poetry back to life, and refresh our memory of a gentler,
more innocent time."
Keen, author, Fire in the Belly
"It is at first jarring to hear changes in these
poems; my curatorial instinct asks that works be preserved. I surmise
that Longfellow himself, a perennial champion of amazingly diverse popularizations
of his work, would be quite untroubled. In the proper spirit of Longfellow
Poetry, it is soothing, reassuring."
Gartner, Ph.D., Asst. Professor of English, City University of New
Author, Becoming Longfellow, Longfellow's Place
"Your CD is stunning, poignant, and hits deepthe
beauty of Michael Hoppe's work and how well it serves the poetry, your
plangent reading voice, your ability to read poetry so that the rhymes
do not dominate unduly, your reworking of the poems themselvesit
seems a cooperative venture between you and Henry, a bridge across time."
Seeger, singer, songwriter, activist
"I have known these poems all my life, and have never
heard them read so powerfully. Longfellow would be honored by this reading
of his work."
Der Hovanessian, author, The Burning Glass
England Poetry Club
"I did not know Longfellow's poetry. Through this
moving CD, I have heard his passion, met his rich characters, and seen
his world. Layne Longfellow's heartfelt readings and Michael Hoppe's
inspired music unfold these poems in soul-centering visualization."
Gawain, author, Creative Visualization
"If one person can bring about a rediscovery of the
sound and feeling of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poetry, it will be you.
Korzenik, Founder, Friends
of the Longfellow House
"The confluence of Hoppe's music, your voice modulation,
and Longfellow's poems is an extraordinary experience! No one who heard
your readings at my seminar remained unmoved, or will ever forget it."
Joy, M.D., author, Joy's Way
"These readings are archival; they will endure."
P. Dober, Campus Designer, Historic Preservationist
"Michael Hoppe's distinctive style...keep(s) me
in awe of his genius."
Sandburg, poet, author
"Your adaptations transform 19th-century poems into
emotional expressions that are accessible to listeners of the 21st century.
You skillfully preserve the emotion behind the poetry, lifting it from
the distracting versification that is so much of the period. The music
is more than a "score," it is a "hat trick."
Robert Colombo, Editor,
The Penguin Treasury of Popular Canadian Poems and Songs
"I had a grand midnight ride home, with you and
your grand ancestor speaking to me through the dark. Your friend Michael's
music goes well with your mellifluous voice, which deftly shapes and
shades HW's verse. Great to hear good poetry read well."
Reeve, Golden Rose Award Recipient,
New England Poetry
"Layne Longfellow reads life and warmth into Henry
Longfellow poetry, and the windows of the Wayside Inn gleam red with
firelight once more."
Bob Purrington, Innkeeper, Longfellow's Wayside
"Layne Longfellow's readings are evocative and compelling.
Beautifully complemented by Michael Hoppe's music, they draw us into
the magic of Henry Longfellow's world."
Myers, author, Yoga and You
"Great poets pierce the veil of life to the purity
of existence. Layne Longfellow's reading of Henry Longfellow's poetry
work parts the veil. I was left speechless, mind quieted, soul stirred.
Our children's lives could be changed by hearing this honored American
poetry presented with such care and intelligence."
S. Dent, Jr., economist, author, The Roaring 2000s
"If you are not sure you enjoy poetry, listen to Longfellow Reads Longfellow. You will fall in love with it.
If you are a fan of either Longfellow, this combination will open a
whole new world."
Fripp, Past President, National
author, Speaking Secrets of the Masters
"Listening to your CD, I am amazed by the range of
Longfellow poetry. I am moved by this work; it is a genuine treasure."
Millard, author, River Child,
former Minister of Education, Yukon Territory
"Longfellow read by Longfellow with the passion
and delicacy that comes through the genes. It doesn't get better than
Perez, CPAE, Cavett Award Winner, National
"Powerful, rich, heart-openingthat was my response
on the first hearing. My appreciation deepens with each listening. Longfellow's
classics come alive again on this beautiful, wonderfully accessible
Carolyn Lundeen, author, teacher, Kripalu Gentle Yoga
"I love this elegancerecorded at the Longfellow
Houses; lavished with art from the period; timeless music; cover art
from Longfellow heirlooms; read by the poet's cousin; enhanced by sensitive
rewording for listening versus reading. How good can it get?"
Cathcart, Past President, National
Golden Gavel Winner
"A sense of absolute balance in which reader, poet
and composer complement each other to perfection. Chills arise in the
listener, as when the spirit receives wonderful news."
artist, Rachel Carson Award recipient
"Longfellow Reads Longfellow is a glorious blend
of feeling, meaning and sound. A great poet, a great interpreter, just
a great idea. Now I have to carefully pick those I want to send it to,
as a pathway to some deliciously serious conversation."
Linkletter, business executive, TV host
Some Letters We've Received:
"You have rekindled our old love of Longfellow poetry!"
President, Historical Society of Old Abbington
"I am a Japanese scholar in American literature and
culture. The Standard Edition was such a spellbinder that I
placed an extra order for the Illustrated Edition. This expanded
version turned out to be enlightening as well, because your additional
notes helped me learn more about the poet and his works."
Yoji Sawairi, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan
"Longfellow Reads Longfellow is a mesmerizing
work, unlike anything I've ever heard or seen. Congratulations on creating
a superb work of art."
Jon Elliott, consultant and writer, retired
"I lay there, becoming more and more enthralled,
listening and really living the experience presented to me. I grew beyond
your voice to the poet and became curious to know more about his life
Gail Saul, computer programmer
"I had planned to begin writing holiday greetings
this evening, but instead I have sat and soaked in the words, the thoughts,
and the universe of feelings contained in this extraordinary CD. What
a treasure it is!"
Marc Fredette, Harvard Divinity School
"These readings are like fine jewelrythe stones
cut by the poet Henry Longfellow, then finely polished by Layne, and
finally placed in an exquisite setting by the music of Michael Hoppe."
John Leslie, Personal Coach
Hello Layne I'm on tourWestern Kentucky
to Maine, then back to North Carolina. Today in the car I listened for
the fourth or fifth time through your CD.
It is stunning.
Quite apart from the beauty of Michael Hoppe's work and how well it
serves the poetry, apart from your plangent reading voice and from your
ability to read poetry so that the rhymes do not dominate unduly
I must congratulate you on your reworking of the poems themselves. You
have made it possible to read them aloud.
I believe it was Wordsworth who said that it was his dearest wish to
create an anonymous ballad, i.e. a folksonga poem so natural that
the folk would take it into their mouths and pass it down. Those "folk,"
the people who render songs "anonymous," would have changed his ballad,
made it their "own," by rearranging, changing, removing and adding words,
by putting the stamp of their local manner of speaking upon it.
I think that is what you have done with Longfellow's somewhat laboured
poetry, and you've done a beautiful job. It seems a cooperative venture
between you and him, a bridge across time.
His poems often seemed to me rather wooden and sometimes pretentious.
You've brought them alive by making them yours. People do that to my
songs all the time; it's a kind of odd compliment.
Once againthe album is poignant and hits deep. Good that you read
several of the poems without music, as a change for the ear. If the
old L-fella's up there listening, who knows? He might be crying too,
as he drives through the snowy wilds of Pennsylvania listening to sad
happy voices from the past present set to real computer music.
As Garrison Keiller says, keep in touch. Peggy