RN Focus on Poetry

Series produced by Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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Three documentaries for National Poetry Month: One where Mark Twain looks at the authenticity of Shakespeare and two on the life and work of Walt Whitman.

Three poetic offerings from Radio Netherlands for National Poetry Month.

1. Will the Real Will Shakespeare Please Stand Up?

The question surrounding the authorship of the plays and sonnets attributed to William Shakespeare has been debated for centuries. Two recent books take very different points of view on the issue.
Amsterdam-based author Rodney Bolt explores the possibility that Christopher Marlowe authored the plays. Harvard University professor Stephen Greenblatt is convinced it can be no one other than Shakespeare himself.
The two writers face-off in a debate hosted by 19th century American humorist Mark Twain who once wrote, “So far as anyone knows or can prove, Shakespeare of Stratford-on-Avon never wrote a play in his life.”

2. & 3. Two Part Series on the Life and Work of Walt Whitman

A “poetic divo” burst onto the literary stage in 1855 and changed the course of poetic expression. Walt Whitman’s epic “Leaves of Grass” is considered the beginning of modern poetry, and contains some of the most glorious use of language since Shakespeare. This two-part program explores the life and work of America’s greatest poet with biographer Gary Schmidgall, and Margaret O’Neill, curator of the Walt Whitman House in Camden, New Jersey, among others.

NOTE to PD’s: Though the two programs were designed to be played in two successive weeks, either one can stand alone. There is enough music at the end of Part One to fade out before the narrator says, “Next Week…” and Part Two makes no direct reference to the first part.

Part One: Songs of the Poet – explores the early life of Whitman, including his Dutch heritage; the relationship between his love of music and his emergence as a poet; and the exuberant sexuality expressed in his work – deemed “immoral” by 19th century conservatives.

Part Two: The Good Gray Poet – explores the latter half of Whitman’s life. Just as the Civil War divided the country, it also wrought great change in the poet, whose work takes on a more mature and somber tone. But his reputation was spreading to Europe and diverse writers such as Oscar Wilde, Garcia Lorca and Bram Stoker paid homage to him. Hide full description

Three poetic offerings from Radio Netherlands for National Poetry Month. 1. Will the Real Will Shakespeare Please Stand Up? The question surrounding the authorship of the plays and sonnets attributed to William Shakespeare has been debated for centuries. Two recent books take very different points of view on the issue. Amsterdam-based author Rodney Bolt explores the possibility that Christopher Marlowe authored the plays. Harvard University professor Stephen Greenblatt is convinced it can be no one other than Shakespeare himself. The two writers face-off in a debate hosted by 19th century American humorist Mark Twain who once wrote, “So far as anyone knows or can prove, Shakespeare of Stratford-on-Avon never wrote a play in his life.” 2. & 3. Two Part Series on the Life and... Show full description


3 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Piece image
Explores the later life of Walt Whitman, considered by many to be the Father of Modern Poetry.

Bought by KMUN, KSJD, WHQR, and KUOW


  • Added: Mar 22, 2005
  • Length: 29:25
  • Purchases: 4
Piece image
Explores the early life of Walt Whitman, considered by many to be the Father of Modern Poetry.

Bought by WGBH Radio Boston, KUOW, and WJFF


  • Added: Mar 22, 2005
  • Length: 29:28
  • Purchases: 3
Piece image
Harvard professor Stephen Greenblatt and Amsterdam writer Rodney Bolt face off in a discussion on the authorship of Shakespeare’s plays moderated b...

Bought by KFCF FM, WCPN, KQED, and WHQR


  • Added: Feb 22, 2005
  • Length: 29:30
  • Purchases: 4