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Poetry In America

Poetry In America

The 12-part series POETRY IN AMERICA draws students of all ages into conversations about poetry. Hosted by Harvard University professor Elisa New, each half-hour episode highlights the work of one distinguished poet (Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks) with a reading by an individual well known for accomplishments outside the humanities (actress and playwright Anna Deavere Smith, Grammy-Award winner Herbie Hancock; former vice president Joe Biden, and rapper/poet Nas), as well as a chorus of others, including: a chorus of pick-up basketball players, young naturalists at the Massachusetts Audubon Society, and students at the Parsons School of Design. The fast-moving, beautifully shot series offers viewers a fully immersive experience in hearing, reading, and interpreting a single American poem. Scholar Elisa New opens a conversation about poetry and encourages viewers at home to extend the discussion past the episode's end.

Latest Episodes

WGBY World
Sat Jul 18th, 7:30pm
Mon Jul 27th, 5:30am
Thu Jul 30th, 5:30am
Thu Jul 30th, 11:30am

Just 28 words and mimicking the form of a refrigerator note, is "This is Just to Say" simply the short apology it pretends to be, or something more subtle and passive-aggressive? Join actor John Hodgman, poet and physician Rafael Campo, poet Jane Hirshfield, a chorus of couples, and New as they consider what may or may not lie beneath the surface of William Carlos Williams's brief tribute to marital relations--and the savor of plums.

Expired

Join poet Edward Hirsch, host Elisa New, NBA players Shaquille O'Neal, Pau Gasol, and Shane Battier, and a group of pick-up basketball players as they read Hirsch's "Fast Break" and use basketball to understand poetry - and poetry to understand the game of basketball.

WGBY World
Mon Jul 13th, 5:30am
Thu Jul 16th, 5:30am
Thu Jul 16th, 11:30am

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 as their case study "Finishing the Hat," from Sondheim's Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Sunday in the Park with George.

Expired

President Bill Clinton, pianist and composer Herbie Hancock, poet Sonia Sanchez, and students from the Harlem Children's Zone interpret Langston Hughes's most iconic poem, "Harlem" with series host Elisa New.

Expired

Joined by rock star Bono, US Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, and by a chorus of clergy and religious practitioners, host Elisa New tackles two of Ginsberg's most emotionally transporting poems, the "Hymmnn" from Kaddish, and the anti-war chant "Hum Bom."

Expired

Host Elisa New explores Emily Dickinson's poem with Cyntha Nixon, Yo-Yo Ma, and others.

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