New Letters
On The Air

Working-Class Poets

The rigors, joys, and difficulties of work are examined through poetry, including the long work "Beauty" by B.H. Fairchild (shown) that was initially in his multi-awa...

Martha Serpas

Growing up in bayou country, the poet Martha Serpas is attached to the landscape and culture of southern Louisiana. Poems about the environment and the endangered Gulf shores permeate her work, including her 2006 collection, ...

E.L. Doctorow: Past American Voice

We remember E.L. Doctorow who passed away on July 21, 2015, at the age of 84. The author of three books of short fiction, a stage drama, and twelve novels, including multi-award winners ...

Sydney Lea

Vermont Poet Laureate (2011-2015), Sydney Lea is the author of over a dozen books of poetry, essays, and fiction, including three books published in 2013: I Was Thinking of B...

Catherine Browder

Describing herself as a latecomer to writing, author Catherine Browder discusses her new book, Now We Can All Go Home, which pays tribute to Anton Chekhov and three of his plays, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, and The S...

Martín Espada

In the second part of this public presentation by Martín Espada for Park University's 2013 Ethnic Voices Poetry Series at the Kansas City Public Library, the former tenant lawyer talks about how he was able to transfer his advocacy from the...

Kenneth Irby

Poet Kenneth Irby was born in Texas and raised in the Midwest before serving in the U.S. Army. A graduate of Harvard and Berkeley, Irby settled in Lawrence, Kansas, where ...

Poets Off the Page: Poetry & Music

This compilation features very different approaches to intertwining poetry and music, resulting in equally different performances.  It includes work by Missouri Poet Laureate (2012-2014) William T...

Ron Tanner

Ron Tanner has been crafting stories for decades, but it was his turn-of the-century move, when he and his girlfriend began renovating an old frat house together that inspired his memoir, ...

Rigoberto González

Inspired by Latino writers Octavio Paz and Gabriel García Marquez to write across genres, Rigoberto González, the 2015 winner of the Bill Whitehead Lifetime Achievement Award, discusses his work that includes poetry, young adult fict...

George Saunders

Acclaimed writer George Saunders reads a passage from his prestigious Story Prize-winning collection, Tenth of December...

Xánath Caraza

Originally from Xalapa, in Veracruz, Mexico, Xánath Caraza likes to use poetry to showcase some of Mexico's linguistic and cultural diversity, drawing inspiration from Af...

Christian Barter

Working as a trail supervisor for Maine's Acadia National Park, Christian Barter isn't your typical poet. His mother, who was a folk singer touring Greenwich Village during the same era as Bob Dylan, and his stepfather inspired his first lov...

Patrick Rosal

Growing up in New Jersey as a first generation Filipino-American, Patrick Rosal was accustomed to an eclectic mix of music, language, and his family's unspoken history, including...

Jane Smiley

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of novels, memoirs, and nonfiction, Jane Smiley...

Maija Rhee Devine

As part of Park University's Ethnic Voices Poetry Series at the Kansas City Public Library, Maija Rhee Devine recounts how her extraordinary past and family history inspired her novel,...

Dave Smith

Poet Dave Smith grew up in Virginia’s tidewater region along the coast, so it’s no surprise that his many books of poetry and essays are abundant in inspiration from the outdoor life in that area. Smith, who has been described as a poe...

Philip Levine: Past American Voice

We remember the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Philip Levine, who died on February 14, 2015 at the age of 87 at his home in Fresno. The work of the former U.S. Poet Laureate has been described as deceptively simple and pulsing with th...

Carolyn Kizer: Past American Voice

We pay tribute to the late Carolyn Kizer, the influential poet who died in October 2014. An unmistakable feminist whose writing was political, satirical, and insightful, Kizer published nearly a dozen collections of poetry including the Pulitzer P...

J. California Cooper: Past American Voice

We honor the life of the playwright and American Book Award-winning fiction writer J. California Cooper, who passed away September 20, 2014, at the age of 82. Born Joan Cooper in Berkeley, California, she began her writing career as a playwright b...

Christina Anderson

Christina Anderson is an up-and-coming playwright who grew up in Kansas City, Kansas. She talks about her unusual journey first to Brown University and then to Yale to study theatre. She discusses the importance of transformation in her plays, fro...

Angela Jackson

In this public reading entitled "Love Letters to Generations," Angela Jackson, a Chicago poet and playwright who was a prominent member of the Organization of Black American Culture that grew out of the Civil Right Movement, shares some of her wor...

Valzhyna Mort

In part two of this interview with Belarusian poet Valzhyna Mort, she reads from her 2011 book,...

Valzhyna Mort

In part one of this interview, Belarusian poet Valzhyna Mort, winner of the 2005 Crystal of Vilenica Award in Slovenia and the 2008 Burda Poetry Prize in Germany, discusses her work, in particular her book,...

Claudia Emerson: Past American Voice

We pay tribute to Pulitzer Prize winner Claudia Emerson, the former Virginia Poet Laureate (2008-10) who died December 4, 2014. A former bookseller, mail carrier, and real estate agent, Emerson deftly portrayed her native ...

Mark Strand: Past American Voice

We honor the life of poet Mark Strand, who passed away on November 29, 2014 at the age of 80. This 2004 recording features the former U.S. Poet Laureate and MacArthur "genius" in conversation with New Letters editor Robert Stewart. With w...

Kansas City Literary Events

Naomi Shihab Nye at the National Storytelling Conference

Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Kansas City, Mo.

News

Tracy K. Smith has been named the next U.S. Poet Laureate!

Hear poetry from her Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Life on Mars, on the New Letters on the Air half-hour show or a short excerpt on KCUR before she was in Kansas City last year. Find out more about our new ambassador for poetry from NPR.

Shop

Clarion Awards Selection CD Special

Jamaica KincaidJim ShepardGloria Vando & Anika ParisLuis Alberto Urrea, and Alex George, normally $7.99 per episode, this cd collection comes with over $15.00 in savings. Downloads of these programs have been reduced and are available through our archives.