Bill Murray's New Job: Poetry Editor

Actor annotates some of his favorite poems for Oprah Winfrey's 'O' magazine

By
Bill Murray; Poetry Expert
Bill Murray has contributed a batch of his favorite poems to the upcoming issue of 'O' Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty

Bill Murray continues his habit of popping up in unexpected places – from passed out front row at the Late Show to being dumbfounded by a last-second shot at the NCAA basketball tournament – this Friday when the actor shares some of his favorite poems in the upcoming issue of O.

In celebration of National Poetry Month, Oprah Magazine's books editor Leigh Haber reached out to the actor through a mutual friend, knowing that Murray was a supporter of New York's Poets House, The Associated Press reports. Two months passed without any response from the actor, but in true Murray fashion, he finally responded on deadline day with a batch of his favorite poems, along with his own comments and annotations.

"It was so funny," Haber told the AP. "He had scraps of paper on which he'd scribbled notes and Xeroxes of poems. His love of poetry was obvious from how much pleasure he took in reading the poems aloud to us."

Galway Kinnell, Lucille Clifton, Thomas Lux and Naomi Shihab Nye are among the poets whose work Murray includes in the issue. As Murray notes on Kinnell's "Oatmeal," about the poet sharing a meal with the late John Keats, "Alas, Kinnell, too, is now available for breakfast," since he passed away in 2014.

Murray also elaborates on his personal connection to a line in Nye's poem "Famous": "I want to be famous in the way / a pulley is famous / or a buttonhole, not because it did/ anything spectacular / but because it never forgot / what it could do." Murray writes of the line, "It's not the dream of being big. It's the dream of being real. That's what stands out to me."

The April issue of O, featuring Murray's favorite poems, hits newsstands Friday.

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