Anthony Holden is an award-winning journalist who has published more than 30 books, including biographies of Laurence Olivier, Tchaikovsky and Shakespeare.He has published translations of opera, ancient Greek plays and poetry. His son Ben is a writer and film producer. He was director of European Film and Television at Exclusive Media, where he helped relaunch Britain's most famous film production label, Hammer. Anthony and Ben both live in London.
Representing 20 nationalities and ranging in age from their early 20s to their late 80s, the majority are public figures not prone to crying. Here they admit to breaking down when ambushed by great art, often in words as powerful as the poems themselves. 75 per cent of the selected poems were written in the 20th century, with more than a dozen by women. Their themes range from love in its many guises, through mortality and loss, to the beauty and variety of nature. Three men have suffered the pain of losing a child; others are moved to tears by the exquisite way a poet captures, in Alexander Pope's famous phrase, 'what oft was thought, but ne'er so well express'd'. From J.J Abrams to John le Carre, Salman Rushdie to Jonathan Franzen, Daniel Radcliffe to Nick Cave, Ian McEwan to Stephen Fry, Stanley Tucci to Colin Firth, and Seamus Heaney to Christopher Hitchens, this collection delivers private insight into the souls of men whose writing, acting, and thinking are admired around the world.