New Letters on the Air

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Listening to New Letters on the Air is like eavesdropping on intimate conversations with favorite writers who reveal secrets about their creative methods, read a few favorite passages, and inspire the listener's imagination.

NEW LETTERS ON THE AIR is a weekly half-hour show that has been entertaining and informing audiences about contemporary writers and literature since 1977. Each week, the program focuses on a writer of poetry, fiction or essays, either in an intimate interview or in a public reading before an audience. Post-produced with narrative and music, NEW LETTERS ON THE AIR gives insight into the creative writing process and the universal stories that writers tell.

Each show is self-contained and undated, except for the occasional holiday or theme related program. 30- and 60-second produced promos are provided weekly on the PRSS promo satellite feeds and on Content Depot. Written promos are posted weekly on the DACS along with the timings and cues. Other distribution methods are available.

Though educational, NEW LETTERS ON THE AIR is not pedantic, and the conversation is often filled with laughter as authors discuss and read from their books. Our archive programs contain many Nobel Laureates, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winners, along with recipients of other major literary awards. Recent guests include poets Sherman Alexie, Naomi Shihab Nye, Billy Collins, and Alicia Ostriker; dramatists August Wilson, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Tony Kushner; essayists Meghan Daum, Susan Orlean, and David Sedaris; fiction writers Richard Russo, Jane Smiley, and Ha Jin. The program also features less-familiar but remarkable writers whose work and contributions are equally engaging.

"Most people have a creative streak, whether they're interested in writing or not," says Angela Elam, host of NEW LETTERS ON THE AIR. "I hope by exploring the writer's process and hearing work that captures the essence of our lives, the program will inspire listeners to do something creative in their own way."

Series

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5 Pieces

NOTE: ALL EPISODES CAN STAND ALONE; NO OBLIGATION TO RUN THE ENTIRE SERIES. This five-episode series of one-hour programs features 17 of the men and women who have served as United States Poet Laureates over the past four decades, from the late Howard Nemerov (1963-64) to Donald Hall (beginning 2006). These conversations and readings of poetry vary from humorous to heavy, but are always thought-provoking, and are perfect for National Poetry Month in April, though they can be used anytime.


Pieces

Caption: Sapphire
Poet and fiction writer Sapphire, best-known for her novel PUSH, which became the award-winning film PRECIOUS, reads from her 2011 novel, THE KID, ...

Bought by WCSU-FM


  • Added: Nov 16, 2011
  • Length: 29:01
  • Purchases: 1
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Episode 5 features former poet laureates Anthony Hecht, Maxine Kumin, Reed Whittemore, and newly appointed laureate Donald Hall.

Bought by WCPN, WFHB, North Country Public Radio, Yellowstone Public Radio, KRUA and more


  • Added: Jul 27, 2006
  • Length: 01:04:05
  • Purchases: 8
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Episode 4 features Howard Nemerov, Billy Collins and William Stafford. Optional 5-minute drop-in also available.

Bought by WCPN, WCAI / WNAN, WFHB, KWIT, North Country Public Radio and more


  • Added: Apr 04, 2006
  • Length: 01:04:04
  • Purchases: 12
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Episode 3 of Life Distilled features former U.S. Poet Laureates Richard Wilbur, Robert Hass, Rita Dove and Stanley Kunitz. Optional 5-minute drop-...

Bought by WCPN, WCAI / WNAN, WFHB, North Country Public Radio, Yellowstone Public Radio and more


  • Added: Mar 27, 2006
  • Length: 01:04:00
  • Purchases: 11
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Episode 2 features former poet laureates from the 1990s: Joseph Brodsky, Mona Van Duyn and Robert Pinsky. They read some of their most famous poe...

Bought by WCPN, WFHB, North Country Public Radio, Yellowstone Public Radio, KRUA and more


  • Added: Mar 09, 2006
  • Length: 01:04:01
  • Purchases: 10
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Episode 1 features poet laureates Mark Strand, Gwendolyn Brooks and Ted Kooser discussing the art and craft of writing poetry and reading some of t...

Bought by WCPN, WFHB, North Country Public Radio, Kansas Public Radio, Yellowstone Public Radio and more


  • Added: Mar 02, 2006
  • Length: 01:04:02
  • Purchases: 12