In 1855 Walt Whitman declared “The United States themselves are essentially the greatest poem.” Join host Elisa New as Poetry in America celebrates the 200th anniversary of Walt Whitman’s birth with Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, playwright Tony Kushner, poets Mark Doty and Marilyn Chin, and a chorus of National Student Poets, discussing Whitman’s powerful and timeless work.
Just 28 words and in the form of a refrigerator note, is “This is Just to Say” simply a short apology or something more subtle and passive-aggressive? Join actor John Hodgman, poet and physician Rafael Campo, poet Jane Hirshfield, a chorus of couples, and host Elisa New as they consider what may or may not lie beneath the surface of William Carlos Williams’s brief tribute to marital relations.
Yusef Komunyakaa went to Vietnam as a journalist but he came home a poet. This episode explores what burns in memory and on the page, even decades later. Former Secretary of State John Kerry, film and theatre director Julie Taymor, composer Elliot Goldenthal, Komunyakaa himself and a chorus of veterans discuss the mingled beauty and horror of war-- and the challenge of making art of it.
Stephen Sondheim is widely hailed as the greatest modern American musical theater composer. Series creator Elisa New speaks with Broadway stage actors and writer Adam Gopnik to explore Sondheim’s singular ability to blend lyrics and music, using “Finishing the Hat,” from Sondheim’s Pulitzer Prize-winning musical "Sunday in the Park with George", as their case study.
Series creator Elisa New talks with poet Mark Doty, psychologist Steven Pinker, choreographer Bill T. Jones, design maven Simon Doonan and designer Jonathan Adler about “This Your Home Now,” where a visit to the barber shop sparks a meditation on love, the AIDS crisis, and the satisfactions of getting older.
This environmental science-themed episode explores Moore’s great poem of marine life, titled "The Fish". Vice President Al Gore, poet Jorie Graham, and scientists from Conservation International dive into Moore’s portrayal of the ocean’s always-changing history, and its future in a warming world.
“The art of losing isn’t hard to master,” Bishop wrote in the poem, "One Art", universally considered one of her greatest. Journalist Katie Couric, media executives Sheryl Sandberg and Yang Lan, singer/songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter, poet Gregory Orr, and others discuss Bishop’s masterpiece on losses, great and small.
The episode explores San Francisco's history from the Gold Rush and early Chinese immigration to the rise of Silicon Valley, through Marilyn Chin's "Urban Love Poem". In this series opener, host Elisa New brings together acclaimed memoirist Maxine Hong Kingston, tech investor Randy Komisar, and four Bay Area residents on a rooftop in Chinatown to discuss the love of a great city.