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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California poet Ellen Bass, the author of the 2020 book INDIGO, describes looking back on her childhood in Philadelphia for inspiration, especially...

  • Added: May 10, 2021
  • Length: 29:00
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We begin Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with a conversation with lawyer-turned-poet Monica Youn. Though both her parents were born in Korea,...

Bought by GCR (Global Community Radio) and WCAI / WNAN Cape & Islands, Mass.


  • Added: May 06, 2021
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 2
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U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo (2019-2021) talks about her Native American heritage and reads poetry from her multi-award-winning book IN MAD LOVE AN...

Bought by GCR (Global Community Radio), WNMU-FM, and KWMR


  • Added: Apr 29, 2021
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 3
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April is National Poetry Month, We’ll celebrate what T.S. Eliot called THE CRUELEST MONTH with ten poets, reflecting on love in all its forms. Lis...

Bought by WCAI / WNAN Cape & Islands, Mass., KUER, WNJR, WMUU-LP, KQED and more


  • Added: Apr 25, 2021
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 8
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Born in Ghana and raised in Jamaica, the poet Kwame Dawes is the editor of Nebraska's literary magazine, PRAIRIE SCHOONER, and the 2021 successor t...

Bought by GCR (Global Community Radio) and WNJR


  • Added: Apr 15, 2021
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 2
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Ted Kooser describes his journey from insurance executive in Nebraska to being tapped as the first U.S. Poet Laureate from the Great Plains in 200...

Bought by GCR (Global Community Radio)


  • Added: Apr 06, 2021
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 1
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Arab-American poet Naomi Shihab Nye, the Poetry Foundation's Young People's Poet Laureate, reads from her book, TENDER SPOT, including her poem "Fa...

Bought by KWMR, KMUN, and WNJR


  • Added: Mar 30, 2021
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 3
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For Women's History Month, NEW LETTERS ON THE AIR features a special program about four important feminist poets who led the next generations into ...

Bought by GCR (Global Community Radio), WNMU-FM, KWMR, WNMU-FM, WCAI / WNAN Cape & Islands, Mass. and more


  • Added: Mar 24, 2021
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 14
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Women's History Month continues as we go to the archives to revisit Black Women Writers in History, a program that examines important African-Ameri...

Bought by KWMR, GCR (Global Community Radio), KRCU, KUFM - Montana Public Radio, KUCR 88.3 fm Riverside, Calif. and more


  • Added: Mar 17, 2021
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 21
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In this special anthology program novelist Meg Wolitzer and poet Molly Peacock both discuss the importance of writing about the lives and work of w...

  • Added: Mar 10, 2021
  • Length: 29:00