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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The late Gwendolyn Brooks shaped countless writers following her long poetic career. This episode looks back on her life as the first African-Amer...

Bought by KUNM, WXAV 88.3FM, 'The Sea', WCAI / WNAN, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Feb 13, 2019
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 6
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Patricia Smith, a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts fellow and the 2018 winner of the coveted Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, reads this time from ...

  • Added: Feb 05, 2019
  • Length: 29:00
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Michigan native Marcus Wicker reads from his 2011 National Poetry Series winning collection, MAYBE THE SADDEST THING, which was also a finalist for...

Bought by WNJR


  • Added: Jan 30, 2019
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 1
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Patricia Smith is the author of eight poetry books and a four-time National Poetry Slam Champion. In part one of this conversation, she reads from ...

  • Added: Jan 23, 2019
  • Length: 29:00
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Poets Hadara Bar-Nadav and Kathryn Nuernberger, who were both chosen as 2017 NEA Literary Fellows, talk about their work in this interview at the K...

  • Added: Jan 16, 2019
  • Length: 29:00
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Three-time Georgia Author of the Year for poetry and editor of THE GEORGIA REVIEW, Stephen Corey reads from his book STARTLED AT THE BIG SOUND: ESS...

  • Added: Jan 09, 2019
  • Length: 29:00
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Guggenheim Fellow Charles Harper Webb reads from his collection of essays, A MILLION MFAS ARE NOT ENOUGH and shares poetry from his earlier books, ...

  • Added: Jan 02, 2019
  • Length: 29:00
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Arab-American poet Naomi Shihab Nye reads from her book, TENDER SPOT, including her poem “Famous” that was recently turned into picture book. She d...

Bought by KMUN and WNJR


  • Added: Dec 18, 2018
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 2
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A holiday favorite, this highly anthologized short story is read by the late author Grace Paley. "The Loudest Voice" is an amusing tale about a lit...

Bought by KBBI


  • Added: Dec 07, 2018
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 1
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Part two of our conversation with Stewart O'Nan, the author of 20 plus books including EMILY, ALONE and LAST NIGHT AT THE LOBSTER, examines his st...

  • Added: Dec 05, 2018
  • Length: 29:00