We talked about the PBS program Poetry in America when season one launched, for National Poetry Month 2018. Now, at last, season two has arrived.

Created and directed by Harvard professor Elisa New, Poetry in America (presented by WGBH Boston and distributed by American Public Television) invites a wide variety of guest interpreters “to reflect on essential works of the American literary imagination.”

Watch for Poetry in America on your local PBS station, and visit the Poetry in America site to view trailers for season two and full episodes (about 25 minutes each) from season one.

Poetry in America on PBS

March 29, 2018

In time for National Poetry Month, PBS will air Poetry in America, a new series of 30-minute programs hosted and directed by Harvard Professor Elisa New. Each episode will offer “a fully immersive experience in hearing, reading, and interpreting a single American poem.” Trailers for upcoming episodes are posted online. Check your local PBS station for airing schedule.

Seattle’s poetic voice

October 2, 2017

Back in June, we mentioned the Seattle Poetic Grid, created by Seattle Civic Poet Claudia Castro Luna. Expanding on that story, Castro Luna and two participating poets were interviewed by PBS Newshour, which has posted the 7-minute segment, “Navigating Seattle’s ever-evolving streets through poetry.” Have a look, and then visit the Seattle Poetic Grid to read some of the city’s many voices.

In case you missed the December broadcast on PBS, you can watch/listen/read Jeffrey Brown’s interview with Graywolf Press executive editor Jeff Shotts in which they discuss the press’s 99 percent rejection rate and the difference between publication and poetry. Find it on PBS Newshour.


January 10, 2017


In case you have missed The Guardian’s kerfuffle over the Masterpiece/PBS Mystery “Sherlock,” it has taken a turn toward the poetic. Literary Hub, which keeps an eye on all things literary, explains it all.

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PBS Newshour

One of the nation’s leading nonprofit literary publishers, Graywolf Press has to say, “Thanks, but no thanks,” about 99 times before it says, “Yes!” to one manuscript. PBS Newshour’s Jeffrey Brown interviewed Graywolf’s executive editor, Jeff Shotts, about that process. You can watch or read their conversation here.

picturing poetry

November 9, 2016

Kim Addonizio-by-B.A. Van Sise

Today might be a good day to look at pictures. Here are two suggestions:

On PBS NewsHour, view a selection of photographs of poets by B.A. Van Sise. The photographer, who is a descendant of Walt Whitman, has created a series of portraits, Whitman’s Descendants, each based on a poem by the individual portrayed. The collection is apparently slated for publication.

At the University of Arizona Poetry Center, the LaVerne Harrell Clark Photographic Collection now offers more than a thousand previously unpublished photographs of poets, taken between 1960 and 2007. Clark was a photographer and the original director of the Poetry Center. After her death, her collection of some 12,000 negatives and prints of poet portraits were donated to the Poetry Center.

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Kim Addonizio appears in a portrait based on her poem “First Poem for You.” Photo by B.A. Van Sise.
Read “First Poem for You”

W.S. Merwin: To Plant a Tree

April 22, 2016, marks the 46th anniversary of Earth Day. In honor of that occasion and in celebration of National Poetry Month, the hour-long video “W.S. Merwin: To Plant a Tree” will air on PBS stations nationwide over the next two weeks.

W.S. Merwin moved to an old pineapple plantation on Maui, Hawaii, in 1976. Since that time, while continuing his prodigious output of writing, serving twice as U.S. poet laureate (1999-2000, 2010-2011) and winning prizes and awards too numerous to mention, he has worked steadily to restore and regenerate the rainforest that once occupied the 19-acre site on the island’s north shore.

Read more about the film and see a nationwide broadcast schedule at The Merwin Conservancy, or check your local PBS station’s schedule for details. (In Washington, KSPS/Spokane will air the program on Sunday, April 17, at 4:00pm and KCTS 9 will broadcast it on Saturday, April 30, at 8:00pm and again at 3:00am on Sunday, May 1.)
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photo: Cicala Filmworks

poetry in your ears…

April 22, 2012

Poetry Everywhere
In case you’ve missed it, or crave another listening, visit “Poetry Everywhere with Garrison Keillor,” a wonderful collection of short films of poems read by their authors.

About the project: “WGBH and David Grubin Productions, in association with the Poetry Foundation, undertook this project in order to expose a diverse audience to a broad spectrum of poetic voices, build an appreciation and an audience for poetry, and increase the presence of poets and poetry within the two most ubiquitous media in American popular culture — the Web and TV.”

In addition to the filmed readings, Poetry Everywhere also includes a collection of 34 animated poetry-films created by students at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.

Featured poets include John Ashbery, Coleman Barks, Geoffrey Brock, Brenda Cárdenas, Marilyn Chin, Lucille Clifton, Billy Collins, Robert Creeley, Kwame Dawes, Toi Derricotte, Emily Dickinson, Matthew Dickman, Mark Doty, Rita Dove, Rebecca Dunham, Cornelius Eady, Russell Edson, Martín Espada, Rhina Espaillat, Susan Firer, Nick Flynn, Robert Frost, Maurice Kilwein Guevara, Matthea Harvey, Robert Hass, Robert Hayden, Seamus Heaney, Lyn Hejinian, Bob Hicok, Edward Hirsch, Jane Hirshfield, Marie Howe, Lisa Jarnot, Galway Kinnell, John Koethe, Yusef Komunyakaa, Ted Kooser, Maxine Kumin, Stanley Kunitz, Dorianne Laux, Philip Levine, Valerie Martinez, Raymond McDaniel, Campbell McGrath, Heather McHugh, W.S. Merwin, Joseph Millar, Valzhyna Mort, Paul Muldoon, Naomi Shihab Nye, Sharon Olds, Linda Pastan, Adrienne Rich, Kay Ryan, Charles Simic, Elizabeth Skurnick, Gerald Stern, Mark Strand, James Tate, Sally Van Doren, Jillian Weise, Walt Whitman, Richard Wilbur, C.D. Wright, W.B. Yeats, Kevin Young and Daisy Zamora.

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