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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We continue Women's History Month with Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill. Considered one of the country's leading poets writing all in Irish, she’s won numerous ...

Bought by KUFM - Montana Public Radio


  • Added: Mar 15, 2018
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Eleanor Wilner
We begin Women's History Month with The Augurs: Women of an Age. This public poetry reading features a a group of women poets, all over the age of ...

Bought by WNJR and WMUU-LP


  • Added: Mar 07, 2018
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 2
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Black History Month concludes with the Past American Voice of essayist and fiction writer James Alan McPherson (1943-2016). In this archive recordi...

Bought by WNJR


  • Added: Feb 28, 2018
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 1
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Black History Month continues as we go to the archives to revisit Black Women Writers in History, a program that examines important African-America...

Bought by WNMU-FM, KUNM, KMUD, Northwest Public Broadcasting, KUER and more


  • Added: Feb 21, 2018
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 15
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For Black History Month, we present THE 19th U.S. Poet Laureate (2012-14) and former Mississippi Poet Laureate (2012-16), Natasha Trethewey, who wo...

Bought by WNJR and WNJR


  • Added: Feb 08, 2018
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 2
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The late poet Kenneth Irby (1936-2015) traveled the States before settling in Lawrence, where he spent his teaching and writing career at the Unive...

Bought by WNMU-FM, WNJR, and WNJR


  • Added: Jan 31, 2018
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 3
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In the second half of our conversation with former California Poet Laureate Al Young, he shares more from his book SOMETHING ABOUT THE BLUES: AN UN...

Bought by WNJR and WMUU-LP


  • Added: Jan 09, 2018
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 2
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Former California Poet Laureate, Al Young has penned 25 books and was recently included in THE BEST AMERICAN POETRY 2016. Young discusses how his c...

Bought by WNJR and WMUU-LP


  • Added: Jan 04, 2018
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 2
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Get a humorous account of the holiday season with Kansas blogger Jen Mann's book SPENDING THE HOLIDAYS WITH PEOPLE I WANT TO PUNCH IN THE THROAT. S...

Bought by WNJR


  • Added: Dec 21, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Chanukah Tales
Writer Marilyn Kallet reads from her book, ONE FOR EACH NIGHT: CHANUKAH TALES AND RECIPES, a collection of eight food inspired tales that explain ...

Bought by KMUN, KREV-LP, WNJR, and WJCU


  • Added: Dec 15, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 4