Segments in this Video

Man of a Thousand Faces (02:58)


Actor John Lithgow has played a range of roles in romances as well as cult classics. Acting since age 6, Lithgow has won 2 Tony awards for his diverse Broadway performances. Lithgow's novel "Poets Corner" expresses his love for language.

All My Sons (01:14)

Bill Moyers describes Lithgow's character Joe Keller in Arthur Miller's play "All My Sons." Viewers see a clip of Lithgow's dramatic performance.

Era of Accountability (04:59)

Lithgow speaks of his character's denial, relates Miller's play to modern times, and finds enjoyment in surprising the audience.

Polishing a Jewel (01:26)

Lithgow's says "3rd Rock from the Sun" was a theater-like experience--fast and buoyant. Viewers see a clip from the hit TV show.

A Mother's Womb (02:05)

Lithgow reads a favorite, Randall Jarrell's poem "The Death of a Ball Turret Gunner." We see images of a B-17.

The Play of Language (04:38)

Lithgow's credits his passion for poetry to his "Shakespeare fanatic" father. Lithgow reads William Shakespeare's "Fear No More the Heat of the Sun." The beauty of this poem's language is contradictory to its content.

Anna Lithgow (02:37)

Lithgow says his grandmother recited lengthy poems by heart. Lithgow recites the ending to "The Wonderful One-Hoss Shay," and explains its significance.

The American Dream (04:23)

Bill Moyers invites us to think about the American Dream. Several notables offer their perspective on the American Dream.

How Do I Love Thee? (03:44)

Lithgow recites Elizabeth Berrett Browning's "Sonnet 43." He says archaic writing has a certain musical quality.

"Euphorious" (02:10)

Lithgow recites Ogden Nash's comical poem, "No Doctors Today, Thank You." Lithgow explains his love of Nash.

"We Die Soon" (01:53)

Lithgow sets the stage for Morgan Freeman's reading of Gwendolyn Brooks's "We Real Cool." He recalls a comic/tragic take on this poem in the "New Yorker."

"To A Poor Old Woman" (00:59)

John Lithgow reads William Carlos Williams' poem about the relatable pleasure of eating a plum.

The Power of Words (02:05)

Lithgow realized poetry's uniting power while hosting a reception for the autistic community. It inspired him to write the novel "Poets Corner."

Off the Page (02:25)

Hear a quote by Dylan Thomas, and Lithgow's rendition of "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night."

A Myriad of Emotions (01:12)

We hear excerpts from the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, which included readings by Lucille Clifton, Amiri Baraka, and Deborah Garrison.

Kurtis Lamkin (02:30)

Lamkin hypnotically pairs his poetry with music when musing about the existence of God.

She Learned Me (01:49)

Stanley Kunitz believes a poem needs other human beings to complete it. Sharon Olds recites a poem about punishing her firstborn.

"Yesterday" (01:45)

Merwin recites his poem about his friend's concern of being a good son.

Where Everything is Music (04:18)

We hear Coleman Barks pairs music with poetry. For him, a poem's content is less important than the feeling it evokes.

Additional Resources, Credits & Sponsors: Bill Moyers Journal: Actor John Lithgow / Poetry Festival (02:08)

Additional Resources, Credits & Sponsors: Bill Moyers Journal: Actor John Lithgow / Poetry Festival

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Bill Moyers Journal: Actor John Lithgow / Poetry Festival

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He’s played heroes, villains, saints, sinners, a ballet-dancing elephant, and a space alien. In this edition of the Journal, multifaceted actor and children’s author John Lithgow joins Bill Moyers to share yet another side of himself: poetry lover. The award-winning stage and screen star talks about his favorite poems, insights into acting, and thoughts on the enduring power of art. The program also offers a tribute to the incomparable biennial Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival with archival clips of Coleman Barks, W. S. Merwin, Sharon Olds, Kurtis Lamkin, and others reciting some of their deeply moving works. Broadcast date: March 6, 2009. (53 minutes)

Length: 53 minutes

Item#: BVL40162

ISBN: 978-1-60825-537-5

Copyright date: ©2009

Closed Captioned

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