by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
6 minutes, 58 seconds
Unabridged Formal Poetry
Two poems by one of the founders of the Romantic Movement.
Coleridge claimed that “Kubla Khan,” one of his most famous works, came to him in an opium-inspired dream. Coleridge’s symbolic pleasure-dome of Xanadu in this poem is referenced and even built in Orson Well’s classic film, Citizen Kane. The full title of the poem is “Kubla Khan Or, a Vision in a Dream. A Fragment.”
“The Pains of Sleep” by contrast is a more conversational and emotional piece, dealing with nightmares instead of utopian fantasies, but it is very likely that this poem, too, was inspired by Coleridge’s continued opium use.
Though both poems were first published at the same time in 1816, Coleridge wrote “Kubla Khan” a good 6 years before 1803’s “The Pains of Sleep,” revealing very different mental reactions to his continued drug use. 1816 was also the year when Coleridge finally sought help for his addiction.
Read by Alex Wilson.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) was an English poet and philosopher who began the Romantic Movement of poetry with William Wordsworth. He is best known for his longform poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
Alex Wilson is a writer and actor from northern Ohio and now based in Carrboro, North Carolina. His stories and comics have appeared/will appear in Asimov's Science Fiction, The Rambler, Outlaw Territory II (Image Comics), Weird Tales, Futurismic, LCRW and elsewhere. Locus has called him a "promising new writer," and Publishers Weekly also has nice things to say. Website)
Alex has performed lead roles in the North American premiere of (Richard Taylor's musical) Whistle Down the Wind and (Emmy-nominated director Jack Lucido's film) The Third Cord. He has recently appeared in the Deep Dish Theater productions of Hedda Gabler and Moon for the Misbegotten, and recorded narrations for Escape Pod and Night Shade Books. (Acting Resume/Reel) On early Telltale recordings, Alex is sometimes credited as "Alexander Wilson." He founded Telltale in 2004.