Poetry and YouTube

Remember life before YouTube? I do. Things weren’t that much different, but one incident comes to mind. It’s the time I hunted down the audio of one of my favourite poets.

During my university years, I started reading a lot of poetry. But there’s something special about hearing a poet read his or her own work, so I often searched for audio of poets I liked. I had a fair amount of luck with this, finding many recordings of poets on CD or on the internet. But I had difficulty tracking down anything from Philip Larkin.

I asked around, looking for help with my search. I contacted various publishers and stores. In the end, after a lot of time and effort, I came across one audio clip of Larkin reading “Aubade.” A couple of years later, I found out through YouTube that some recordings of Larkin were rediscovered.


It’s pretty awesome that YouTube has made these types of searches easier. Every so often, I’ll spend some time on YouTube searching for clips of poets reading their work. At the same time, the months I spent searching for audio of Larkin makes for a bit of a better story, even if does expose the depths of my nerdiness.

Here are some other poets reading their poems:

Frank O’Hara


Langston Hughes


Mark Strand


Sylvia Plath


4 thoughts on “Poetry and YouTube

  1. Hey Nicky, this is a great topic.

    I like hearing Ginsberg read his own stuff. I can’t find the one I like the most, A Supermarket in California, but here is America. Don’t mind the visuals.

  2. Oh shoot. I ended up posting a weird version of Supermarket with background music.

    Here is America. I think.

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