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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After 43 years of broadcasting, 2020 budget cuts may bring us to an end. This compilation program features audio from four decades of our archives ...

  • Added: Jun 30, 2020
  • Length: 29:00
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Affrilachian and Cave Canem poet Nikky Finney talks about her father, the first African American Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court,...

  • Added: Jun 23, 2020
  • Length: 29:00
Caption:        Etheridge Knight
As protests continue across the US, we revisit our archive program with the late poet ETHERIDGE KNIGHT. Known for his powerful poems about prison ...

Bought by WNMU-FM, KMUN, WNMU-FM, and WJCU


  • Added: Jun 16, 2020
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 4
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In light of the recent events regarding race in America, we revisit MacArthur Genius and Guggenheim Fellow, Claudia Rankine, who discusses her mo...

Bought by WJSU and WNJR


  • Added: Jun 09, 2020
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 2
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THAT'S IT!--A special program looking back on the career of longtime NEW LETTERS editor Robert Stewart. In this public reading, Albert Goldbarth, J...

  • Added: Jun 03, 2020
  • Length: 29:00
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Virginia Brackett, the author of 15 books, discusses her 2019 family memoir, IN THE COMPANY OF PATRIOTS. She reveals how she used family stories, s...

  • Added: May 27, 2020
  • Length: 29:00
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2020 Pulitzer Prize-winner for his book THE TRADITION, Jericho Brown describes the joy he finds in writing poetry and how his work helps him examin...

Bought by WNMU-FM and WNJR


  • Added: May 19, 2020
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 2
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For Mother's Day, we'll revisit NEW YORK TIMES Bestselling author, Meg Wolitzer, who reads from her most recent novel, THE FEMALE PERSUASION. She d...

  • Added: May 13, 2020
  • Length: 29:00
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MacArthur Fellow Ben Lerner discusses his third acclaimed novel, THE TOPEKA SCHOOL, winner of the 2019 Los Angeles Times Book Award. A previous pro...

  • Added: May 07, 2020
  • Length: 29:00
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NEW LETTERS ON THE AIR concludes National Poetry Month with Nikky Finney whose fifth book, LOVE CHILD'S HOTBED OF OCCASIONAL POETRY: POEMS AND ARTI...

  • Added: Apr 28, 2020
  • Length: 29:00