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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."

Pieces

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Guggenheim fellow Jericho Brown describes the joy he finds in writing poetry and how his work helps him examine his world as a gay black man. He ta...

  • Added: Jan 17, 2018
  • Length: 29:00
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In the second half of our conversation with former California Poet Laureate Al Young, he shares more from his book SOMETHING ABOUT THE BLUES: AN UN...

Bought by WNJR and WMUU-LP


  • Added: Jan 09, 2018
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 2
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Former California Poet Laureate, Al Young has penned 25 books and was recently included in THE BEST AMERICAN POETRY 2016. Young discusses how his c...

Bought by WNJR and WMUU-LP


  • Added: Jan 04, 2018
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 2
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Get a humorous account of the holiday season with Kansas blogger Jen Mann's book SPENDING THE HOLIDAYS WITH PEOPLE I WANT TO PUNCH IN THE THROAT. S...

Bought by WNJR


  • Added: Dec 21, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Chanukah Tales
Writer Marilyn Kallet reads from her book, ONE FOR EACH NIGHT: CHANUKAH TALES AND RECIPES, a collection of eight food inspired tales that explain ...

Bought by KREV-LP, WNJR, and WJCU


  • Added: Dec 15, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 3
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The Iraq War ended in December 2011, a dramatic setting for former U.S. Army Captain Matt Gallagher, who discusses his novel, YOUNGBLOOD, which dra...

  • Added: Dec 13, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
Caption: Diane Glancy
Writers Diane Glancy and Linda Rodriguez discuss co-editing the anthology THE WORLD IS ONE PLACE: NATIVE AMERICAN POETS VISIT THE MIDDLE EAST. Glan...

Bought by WNJR and WMUU-LP


  • Added: Dec 08, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 2
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Poet Michelle Boisseau died November 15, 2017 from cancer at age 62. In this interview conducted earlier this year at the Kansas City Public Libra...

Bought by WNJR and WMUU-LP


  • Added: Nov 28, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 2
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For National Native American Heritage Month, poet Deborah Miranda reads from her multi-genre book, BAD INDIANS: A TRIBAL MEMOIR, winner of a Gold M...

Bought by WNJR


  • Added: Nov 22, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 1
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Bonnie Bolling, the editor-in-chief of VERDAD magazine since 2006, now divides her time between Southern California and the Persian Gulf. Bolling d...

Bought by WNJR


  • Added: Nov 14, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Geoffrey Brock
In part two of this interview with husband and wife writers, poet Geoffrey Brock and novelist Padma Viswanathan, the couple discusses their shared ...

Bought by WNJR


  • Added: Nov 08, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Padma Viswanathan
Novelist Padma Viswanathan, a 2017 recipient of the Porter Fund Literary Prize, and poet Geoffrey Brock, discuss how they balance their writing car...

  • Added: Nov 01, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
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Poet Susan Aizenberg discusses the use of fiction within poetry, admitting that she draws from real life, but notes that there is a distinction bet...

Bought by KFCF FM and WNJR


  • Added: Oct 26, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 2
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Poet Terrance Hayes, a MacArthur fellow reads from his fifth book, HOW TO BE DRAWN, winner of the 2016 NAACP Image Award for Poetry, while at the H...

Bought by WNJR


  • Added: Oct 18, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 1
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National Hispanic Heritage Month continues with a look at Puerto Rico’s culture and stories through the eyes of the late Judith Ortiz Cofer. In the...

  • Added: Oct 12, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
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Inspired by the documentary THE VIETNAM WAR, we return to an archive interview with the poet John Balaban, who served as a conscientious objector i...

Bought by WNJR


  • Added: Oct 04, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 1
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National Hispanic Heritage month continues with former California Supreme Court attorney, Michael Nava. The author of now eight novels in the Henry...

Bought by WNJR and WMUU-LP


  • Added: Sep 27, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 2
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We begin National Hispanic Heritage month with the Past American Voice of Judith Ortiz Cofer, who influenced and mentored Latina writers around the...

  • Added: Sep 20, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
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NEW LETTERS ON THE AIR pays tribute to the Past American Voice of John Ashbery. The poet, critic, and translator, who died on September 3rd at age ...

  • Added: Sep 13, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
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Guest editor of BEST AMERICAN POETRY 2017, Natasha Trethewey talks about her her first creative non-fiction book, BEYOND KATRINA: A MEDITATION ON T...

Bought by WCAI / WNAN and WNJR


  • Added: Sep 08, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 2