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


  • Added: Apr 01, 2022
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 4
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Poet Victoria Chang talks about approaching poetry from the business world, and the influence of her Taiwanese immigrant parents on her work. She ...

  • Added: Mar 24, 2022
  • Length: 29:00
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Poet and essayist Kathryn Nuernberger discusses how she once shied away from being a "woman writer" and why she now embraces it, as she reads from ...

  • Added: Mar 16, 2022
  • Length: 29:00
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In part one of this interview, Belarusian poet Valzhyna Mort reads from her early books, including FACTORY OF TEARS, in both English and Belarusian...

Bought by WNJR and WJCU


  • Added: Mar 09, 2022
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 2
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Patricia Smith, a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts fellow and the 2018 winner of the coveted Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, is now the 2021 Ruth...

  • Added: Feb 28, 2022
  • Length: 29:00
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For Black History Month, we'll hear from Patricia Smith, the author of eight poetry books and the 2021 winner of the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for li...

  • Added: Feb 24, 2022
  • Length: 29:00
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Author of the 2022 book EDEN'S LAST HORIZON: POEMS FOR THE EARTH, Georgia nature writer and poet Philip Lee Williams discusses his earlier poetry b...

Bought by WNJR


  • Added: Feb 16, 2022
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 1
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Multi-award winning short story writer, Amina Gautier, shares excerpts from her 2018 PEN/Malamud Award-winning, THE LOSS OF ALL LOST THINGS, as par...

  • Added: Feb 10, 2022
  • Length: 29:00
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Fiction writer Charles Baxter reveals some of his motivations for writing short stories and novels. In this interview in front of an audience at th...

Bought by WNJR


  • Added: Feb 03, 2022
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 1
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Poet Randall Freisinger is the author of five collections of poetry, including his 2019 poetry collection WINDTHROW & SALVAGE. He reads from early...

  • Added: Jan 25, 2022
  • Length: 29:00