Books: Words in Rotation

Unlike fine wines, books rarely improve with rotation. Nevertheless, the record industry has set the stateliest periods of English poetry and prose to spinning on thousands of U.S. phonographs at 33-1/3 r.p.m. Sampling the newer releases, the auditory reader can pass his evenings with anything from a spoken history of baseball (Columbia) to Physicist Edward Teller's richly Magyar dissertation for Spoken Arts on the "thee-ory of relateevity" ("it weel sound to you crazy").

Surprisingly, the poets seem to be least at ease while draped in their own literary garlands, e. e. cummings wanders through...

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