Daniel Radcliffe, Stephen Fry choose sad poems for anthology

What makes Daniel Radcliffe cry?  That’s what Dan had to consider for his contribution to a newly published anthology titled Poems That Make Grown Men Cry: 100 Men on the Words That Move Them.  The book includes somber selections from a variety of male public figures, such as actors, writers, scientists, and human rights activists.

Dan chose a pair of poems, Long Distance I and Long Distance II, published in 1978 by English poet Tony Harrison.  They are about a widower who can’t let go of his dead wife and keeps the house ready for her to return, as told by the widower’s son.

Excerpt from Long Distance II:

Though my mother was already two years dead
Dad kept her slippers warming by the gas,
put hot water bottles her side of the bed
and still went to renew her transport pass.

…I believe life ends with death, and that is all.
You haven’t both gone shopping; just the same,
in my new black leather phone book there’s your name
and the disconnected number I still call.

Stephen Fry (narrator of the UK Harry Potter audiobooks) also contributed to the collection, choosing Of the Terrible Doubt of Appearances by American poet Walt Whitman, who wrote during the American Civil War.

Excerpt from Of the Terrible Doubt of Appearances:

…When he whom I love travels with me, or sits a long while holding me by the hand,
When the subtle air, the impalpable, the sense that words and reason hold not, surround us and pervade us,
Then I am charged with untold and untellable wisdom – I am silent – I require nothing further,
I cannot answer the question of appearances, or that of identity beyond the grave;
But I walk or sit indifferent – I am satisfied,
He ahold of my hand has completely satisfied me.

Other celebrities who made selections for the anthology include Patrick Stewart, Hugh Bonneville, and Colin Firth.

Poems That Make Grown Men Cry is edited by Anthony and Ben Holden.  You can check it out on Amazon here.  Will you be picking up this sorrowful collection?  What do you think of Dan’s choice?  Let us know in the comments below.

Catherine Lai

I have been a fan of Harry since 2000, a fan of MuggleNet since 2005, and a MuggleNet team member since 2013. I believe in the power of stories to bring people together, and nothing does that quite like Harry Potter. I live in Toronto, Canada.