New Letters
On The Air

Gerald Vizenor

The author of more than 40 books of poetry, fiction, essays and criticism, Gerald Vizenor was raised on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota and went into the army at age 18. While in Japan, he discovered a new appreciation of his native Anish...

Kwame Dawes

Born in Ghana and raised in Jamaica, Kwame Dawes has written poetry, plays, fiction, a documentary and an accompanying Emmy-win...

Michael Nava

An attorney for the California Supreme Court by day, Michael Nava is the author of seven novels in the Henry Rios mystery series, six of which won the Lambda Literary Awards for Gay Men's Mystery books. His 2014 novel,...

Marjorie Agosín

The author of the 2015 International Latino Book Award-winning young adult novel, I Lived on Butterfly Hill, Marjorie ...

Junot Díaz

With nearly a decade between his first collection, Drown and his follow-up novel...

Nikki Giovanni

With a long writing career that stretches back to the 1960s and the Black Art Movement, Nikki Giovanni has nearly three dozen books of poetry, fiction, essays, memoir, and children's stories with numerous honors, including the American Book Award ...

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...

Kansas City Literary Events

Lauren Hunter & Erica Lewis

Saturday, August 26, 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.

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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.