Explore the media links and clips below to dive into Poetry in America coverage online, in print, and on air.

From major cities to small towns, Americans across the country are talking about the Poetry in America series, airing now on public television stations everywhere.


This Weekend I Have … a Half-Hour, and the Humanities Will Save Us

The first episode of this 12-part series is already free to stream on the Poetry in America website, and subsequent episodes will go up after they air on PBS throughout the spring. (It debuts this month; check local listings.) Each installment goes deep on a different poem: The host, Elisa New, interviews scholars, celebrities and laypeople not only about the poems themselves but also about the ideas or formats therein — for example, interviewing fashion designers in an episode about the Robert Pinsky poem “Shirt,” or having Yo-Yo Ma play the cello while he unpacks Emily Dickinson’s “I cannot dance opon my Toes.” … Read more

Shaq attacks verse in new TV series Poetry in America

Shaquille O’Neal called himself “The Big Baryshnikov” and “The Big Socrates” in his days in the NBA. Now he can add “The Big Shakespeare.” The basketball Hall-of-Famer, TNT TV analyst, commercial pitchman and onetime rapper is putting poetry on his lengthy resume as part of a new public television series. He brings his best bard to a dramatic reading of a poem in his episode of the 12-part “Poetry in America ,” then discusses it with Elisa New, a Harvard English professor who hosts the show. … Read more

Additional Features

Poetry is Everywhere

What’s striking about [Poetry in America], as a work of public literature, is how elastic it is when it comes to the notion of poetry itself. What the series is doing, effectively, episode by episode, is what the so-called “Instagram poets” do: It is fusing words and images to bring poetry to life in a new way. It is poetry meeting documentary. There’s power, New told me, in the simple act of having people, literally, on the same page: meditating on the same words, interpreting them, bringing their own experiences to bear on them, communing through them. Through the space of poetry, New said, “you have this encounter with another human being”—which is ultimately “an encounter with your own humanness.” … Read more

Elisa New on Poetry in America and Beyond (Ep. 43)

Elisa New believes anyone can have fun reading a poem. And that if you really want to have a blast, you shouldn’t limit poetry to silent, solitary reading — why not sing, recite, or perform it as has been the case for most of its history? The Harvard English professor and host of Poetry in America recently sat down with Tyler to discuss poets, poems, and more, including Walt Whitman’s city walks, Emily Dickinson’s visual art, T.S. Eliot’s privilege, Robert Frost’s radicalism, Willa Cather’s wisdom, poetry’s new platforms, the elasticity of English, the payoffs of Puritanism, and what it was like reading poetry with Shaquille O’Neal. … Read more

Verse case scenarios with ‘Poetry in America’

So, it’s Friday night. I’m still housesitting for Matthew Gilbert and have the whole TV column to myself, and (as you’re well aware) it’s National Poetry Month. I’m thinking this might be the perfect time to throw ourselves a proper rager. Stock up on party supplies and come on by, folks: There’s a new episode of “Poetry in America” on WGBH 2 tonight. … Read more

National Poetry Month

Memorize poems. Share them when you talk. Write them in colors with sidewalk chalk. Go to poetry readings, start poetry groups. Read poems about sports, like those who shoot hoops. … Read more

Shaq Hears America Singing

Some things seem too good to be true: for example, Shaquille O’Neal talking about poetry. More than that—Shaq close-reading Edward Hirsch’s poem “Fast Break,” with its memorable opening line, “A hook shot kisses the rim,” and then proceeding to demonstrate, with his lips, varying degrees of that kiss’s intensity. Yet this is precisely the sort of an experience the viewers of the new PBS program Poetry in America can expect from the 12-episode series, released last week in time for National Poetry Month. … Read more

In honor of National Poetry Month, watch Shaq recite poetry in new PBS series

SALT LAKE CITY — It’s National Poetry Month, and if Poem in Your Pocket Day or writing workshops aren’t your cup of tea, then maybe “Poetry in America” with retired NBA player Shaquille O’Neal and U2 rock star Bono will do the trick. A 12-part series on PBS, “Poetry in America” premiered in Salt Lake City April 7. The 30-minute episodes will air throughout spring 2018 and feature readings and conversations with celebrities, poets and politicians. … Read more

What’s on TV Saturday

Joe Biden, Shaquille O’Neal, Bono and other luminaries show up in this series led by the Harvard professor Elisa New, which explores the ways in which poetry shows up in places you might not expect. The first episode dives into Emily Dickinson and looks at how poetry can move across mediums. The cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the dancer and choreographer Jill Johnson, and the actor and now gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon appear to read and discuss poetry. … Read more

On TV, April 5-8; ‘Only connect’ with new ‘Howards End’; Pacino as ‘Paterno’

April is National Poetry Month, and PBS is celebrating with the start of a 12-part series called “Poetry in America,” airing on KQED at 11 p.m. The series includes poetry readings and interviews with celebrities and poets including Bono, Sen. John McCain, Regina Spektor and more. Tonight’s episode focuses on Emily Dickinson’s “I Cannot Dance Upon My Toes.” To which I say, right there with ya, babe. … Read more

Book Events

Poetry in America: The new 12-episode public television series features various celebrities and writers reading poetry and exploring its power. Premieres 11 p.m. Thursday, April 5. PBS. … Read more

TV picks for April 3: ‘Legion,’ ‘The Last O.G.,’ ‘Poetry in America’

I'm not sure about Cynthia Nixon's bid to be governor of New York, but she would make one heck of a literary professor. In the premiere of "Poetry in America," the former "Sex and the City" star helps dissect Emily Dickinson's "I Cannot Dance Upon My Toes." Future episodes of the new series will look at work by Carl Sandburg and Langston Hughes with Profs. Shaquille O'Neal and Bono. … Read more

Poetry in America series on PBS

Poetry in America is an upcoming 12-part series exploring poetry on a variety of topics. Each episode features the discussion of a single poem — “I cannot dance upon my toes” by Emily Dickinson, “Skyscraper” by Carl Sandburg, “N.Y. State of Mind” by Nas — with a collection of notable people — Samantha Power, Shaquille O’Neal, E.O. Wilson, Yo Yo Ma, Bill Clinton. The first episode airs this week but is already available on Amazon. … Read more

Cynthia Nixon’s Poetry

Former New York Governor Mario M. Cuomo reportedly once said, “You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose.” Now that former Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon has launched her gubernatorial campaign against Mario’s son Andrew, New York’s current governor, it’s worth noting the challenger is no stranger to poetry. … Read more

How Does PBS Connect Poetic Inspiration With Experiential Travel?

The public television special series entitled Poetry in America, airing the first week in April on PBS stations nationwide, opens up a whole new vista to experiential travelers through the creative minds of some of our nation’s greatest bards. The series is hosted and directed by Harvard Professor Elisa New, and profiles twelve poets in half hour episodes, featuring guest commentaries from poets and artists to political figures and sports stars. Traveling the poems, or traveling along with the poets’ source of inspiration, is a wonderful way to frame your next vacation. … Read more

Tomorrow Will Be Televised The Terror/Poetry In America/Krypton Special Episode

Special Wednesday episode of the program all about TV. Our guests: David Kajganich and Soo Hugh, executive producers of The Terror, AMC's new anthology saga launching next week; Elisa New, host/director on Poetry In America, coming to PBS next week, and (rescheduled from Monday's episode) Cameron Welsh, executive producer and showrunner of Krypton, the pre-Superman adventure series that starts tonight on Syfy. … Read more

Poetry in America to Air on Public Television

Just in time for National Poetry Month! Beginning in early April, Poetry in America produced a 12-part television series that will air on public television stations nationwide (check local listings since some stations will air the series at different times). … Read more

Poetry on Film: Robert Pinsky’s “Shirt”

The poem “Shirt,” by Robert Pinsky, first appeared in the pages of The New Yorker in 1989 ... Twenty-five years later, “Shirt” has been brought to the medium of film, as the first installment of The Nantucket Poetry Project, an initiative by the Harvard professor Elisa New and the Nantucket Project to disseminate poetry through video and other multimedia platforms. In this visualization of the poem, several people read the text—including Kate Burton, Nas, and Pinsky himself—while the camera captures the details of stitching and fabric, spinning and sewing, and nods to the poem’s account of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, in Manhattan. … Read more