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

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Pulitzer Prize winner Tyehimba Jess reads from his multi-award winning poetry book, OLIO, delving into the voices of African American creatives in ...

  • Added: May 17, 2019
  • Length: 29:00
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In this presentation at the Kansas City Public Library, Scottish-born writer Margot Livesey talks about her evolution as a reader and writer, and s...

  • Added: May 08, 2019
  • Length: 29:00
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We kick off National Preservation Week and continue our celebration of National Poetry Month by pulling from our audio archives to look back on the...

  • Added: Apr 24, 2019
  • Length: 29:00
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NEW LETTERS ON THE AIR continues National Poetry Month with a program of readings and conversation at Commerce Bank's The Box Gallery. Poets Wyatt ...

  • Added: Apr 17, 2019
  • Length: 29:00
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NEW LETTERS ON THE AIR begins National Poetry Month with Edward Hirsch, a poet and "MacArthur genius" who was the editor of THE BEST AMERICAN POETR...

Bought by WNJR and WMUU-LP


  • Added: Apr 10, 2019
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 2
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Women's History Month concludes with poet and essayist Kathryn Nuernberger. She discusses how she once shied away from being a "woman writer" and w...

  • Added: Apr 03, 2019
  • Length: 29:00
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For Women's History Month, NEW LETTERS ON THE AIR features a special program about four important feminist poets who led the next generations into ...

Bought by KWMR, WNMU-FM, WCAI / WNAN, WNJR, KRZA and more


  • Added: Mar 19, 2019
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 12
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We kick off Women's History Month with part two of a conversation with poet Ellen Bass, who discusses how, after being married and having two child...

  • Added: Mar 06, 2019
  • Length: 29:00
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Our celebration of Black History Month concludes with Marcus Jackson, a Cave Canem Fellow, who reads from his debut collection, NEIGHBORHOOD REGIST...

  • Added: Feb 27, 2019
  • Length: 29:00
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Our celebration of Black History Month continues with Glenn North, the inaugural Poet Laureate of the 18th and Vine Historic Jazz District. This Ca...

  • Added: Feb 20, 2019
  • Length: 29:00