Longfellow's great narrative poem has been unjustly neglected in recent years though it gives a sympathetic portrait especially of Hiawatha, reared by Nokomis, daughter of the Moon, and his bride Minehaha.
It is famously underpinned by its hypnotic rhythm, which makes it ideal listening.
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For many readers, William Hootkins's narration of Longfellow's classic nineteenth-century poem will evoke memories of elementary or middle school. Longfellow's extended narrative is set in a regular, easily recognized rhythm. This rhythm guides Hootkins's delivery, as this is more of a performance than a simple narration. He powerfully underscores the moments of import, giving the impression of a traditional storyteller revisiting a familiar piece. The one weakness in Hootkins's performance may come from matching Longfellow's poetry too closely. At times, the poem seems to drive on in the same vein for too long, with too many attempts at peak moments.
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To be taken in small doses
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