Welcome to this weekend's entry in our Mark Steyn Club anthology of video poetry. And this Sunday we're celebrating the bicentennial of John Keats' amazingly productive spring of 1819 - and its loads of odes:
Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on...
Thus Keats contemplating a Grecian urn, and musing on its characters and the lives they lived. This ongoing weekend poetry anthology was started for two reasons: First, if it turns out that poetry on TV is where the big bucks are, I'll look like a genius. But, if that's not the case, then more modestly I'd like to do my bit to keep some of this stuff in circulation - especially given the state of western education systems and the increasing brazenness of the new barbarians. I'm concerned about the erasure of our cultural inheritance - and in a certain sense that's at least partially the subject of this "Ode on a Grecian Urn": Keats' awe and modesty before an artifact from a vanished world. In this video I discuss the background to the poem, and then give it a whirl. To watch (or hear) "Ode on a Grecian Urn", prefaced by my introduction, please click here and log-in.
If you'd like to catch up on earlier poems in the series, you can find a brace of Kipling, with "Recessional" and "If...", plus "Dover Beach" by Matthew Arnold, "Ozymandias" by Shelley, "Jenny KIss'd Me" by Leigh Hunt, and a great poem of the Great War.
Steyn's Sunday Poem is made with the support of members of The Mark Steyn Club, for which we're profoundly grateful. We launched the Steyn Club almost two years ago, and as we prepare to embark on our third season I'm immensely heartened by all the longtime SteynOnline regulars - from Fargo to Fiji, Madrid to Malaysia, West Virginia to Witless Bay - who've signed up to be a part of it. As I said at the time, membership isn't for everyone, but it is a way of ensuring that all our content remains available for everyone - all my columns, audio interviews, video content, all our movie features and songs of the week. None of it's going behind a paywall, because I want it out there in the world, being read and heard and viewed, and maybe changing an occasional mind somewhere along the way. And we're delighted to say that, since the birth of The Mark Steyn Club, this website now provides more free content each week than at any time in its sixteen-year history.
That said, we do provide a few bonuses for our Club Members, mostly experimental features such as this series of video poems. However, membership in The Mark Steyn Club does come with some non-poetic benefits too, including:
~Our nightly radio serial Tales for Our Time, the twenty-fifth of which starts this Friday;
~Exclusive Steyn Store member pricing on over 40 books, mugs, T-shirts, and other products;
~The opportunity to engage in live Clubland Q&A sessions with yours truly (such as last Tuesday's);
~Transcript and audio versions of Mark's Mailbox, SteynPosts, and other video content, including today's poem;
~Advance booking for my live appearances around the world;
~Customized email alerts for new content in your areas of interest;
~The opportunity to join me and my guests later this year on the Second Annual Mark Steyn Club Cruise;
~and the chance to support our print, audio and video ventures as they wing their way around the planet.
To become a member of The Mark Steyn Club, please click here. And for our special Gift Membership see here. Oh, and by the way, that Steyn cruise will include a live performance of our Sunday Poem series.
One other benefit to Club Membership is our Comment Club privileges. So, if you like or dislike this feature, or consider my poem reading a bust, then feel free to comment away below. I weigh in on the comment threads myself from time to time, but sparingly - because it's mainly your turf, so have at it (in verse, if you wish).