Tom Hiddleston, Emma Watson, Damian Lewis and the stars making poetry popular

The creator of poetry app The Love Book explains how she got some of the world's biggest stars to recite poetry for her... and whether they were any good at remembering their lines

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“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”

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If you’re a Tom Hiddleston fan, you’ve probably already downloaded and devoured The Love Book app on which the Thor actor reads Shakespeare, E.E Cummings and other work from the world’s best known poets. 

But we wanted to find out what Hiddleston was actually like when he came in to read the poetry. He might be a natural on screen but did he sail through the sonnets?

Allie Esiri, the creator of the app which features poetry read by Hiddleston, Emma Watson, Helena Bonham-Carter, Damian Lewis and more, spoke to RadioTimes.com about the recording process.

Tom was absolutely brilliant and came in a few times to read, perfectly prepared,” Esiri said. “He didn’t need a note, he just understood everything. He told me, ‘poetry is something that I liked privately, now its quite fun to share my love for poetry publicly.'” 

Esiri said that Hiddleston’s reading of E.E Cummings’ 1923 poem May I Feel Said He (may i feel said he/ i’ll squeal said she/just once said he/ it’s fun said she) has prompted the most comments, emails and feedback of all the poems on the app. 

It’s incredibly sexy, you almost have to go into a quiet room…it’s almost pornographic! People really like that one! I said to Tom afterwards, ‘I know it would be the one.'”

It was director Tim Burton who suggested that Esiri ask Hiddleston to read on the app. “This was before he became mega mega famous,” Esiri remembers. “Tim told be he was very good and that he was going to be really, really big.

“Tom’s fans have been incredible and really active in supporting the app and it’s been downloaded in China, Japan and Romania where he has massive fan bases.”

Here’s Tom Hiddleston reading E.E Cumming’s May I Feel Said He

https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/111779236&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true

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Here, you can watch Helena Bonham-Carter reading Christina Rossetti’s 1862 poem Song