Supermodel-turned-chanteuse neuters Norton Anthology's greatest hits
With her hoarsely lilting voice and playful strumming
, Carla Bruni sculpts 11 of her favorite poems into shuffling ditties shrouded in the same lusty somnambulism of her 2003 French-Italian debut, Quelqu’un m’a dit
. The result is easy on the ears—Bruni could give her grocery list the same treatment and it would sound lovely—but it will mangle the heart of anyone who values the capacity of poetry to be belligerent, irate, morose or challenging in any way. Thematically unlovely selections by William Butler Yeats, Emily Dickinson and Dorothy Parker, in particular, demand a far more nuanced interpretation than they receive here, as Bruni strips each work of its emotional dynamics and disregards all implied narrative tone and context. She might as well be reading that grocery list, for all the passion that’s lacking in these co-opted opuses. Hopefully she’ll soon return to crafting little masterpieces of her own.