PBS Newshour - Poetry-logo

PBS Newshour - Poetry


A special NewsHour series that couples profiles of contempory poets with reports on news and trends in the world of poetry.

A special NewsHour series that couples profiles of contempory poets with reports on news and trends in the world of poetry.
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Washington, DC




A special NewsHour series that couples profiles of contempory poets with reports on news and trends in the world of poetry.






MacNeil/Lehrer Productions 2700 South Quincy Street Arlington, VA 22206 703-998-2138


Weekly Poem: Dan Chiasson and his poetry time machine

Photo of Dan Chaisson by Nicholas Chaisson Poet Dan Chiasson started working on his book “Bicentennial” after the death of his father, who left when Chiasson was 7 months old. While the two never really knew each other, that event prompted Chiasson to revisit his childhood in a series of poems that play with memory and a sense of time. “I feel like, almost in an H. G. Wells way, poems are like a time machine. You can go back and bring the past to life again. So that’s what I did, what I...


Weekly Poem: Mark Bibbins takes ‘little pieces’ to craft layers of meaning

Mark BibbonsIn “They Don’t Kill You Because They’re Hungry. They Kill You Because They’re Full,” Mark Bibbins writes what he calls “persona poems.” One of his poems is in the voice of Pat Robertson, another in the voice of Medusa (although not necessarily the classic Medusa from Greek mythology). Sometimes, the voice of his poems changes more subtly, responding more to a mood or a perceived audience than channeling a whole different person. “We speak differently to a child then we do to...


Weekly Poem: Ron Padgett reads ‘Thinking about the Moon’

Thinking about the Moon As a child I thought the moon existed only at night: there it was in the dark sky. When I saw it in daytime I knew it was the moon but it wasn’t the real one. It was that other one. The real moon had moonlight, silver and blue And the full moon was so big it seemed close, but to what? (I didn’t know I was on Earth). “Thinking about the Moon” is reprinted by permission from Collected Poems (Coffee House Press, 2013). Copyright © 2013 by Ron Padgett. Photo by John...


Weekly Poem: Rachel Zucker pulls inspiration from the noise of New York

Rachel Zucker was once told that poets either write out of noise or out of silence and she has no doubt which category she falls into. Zucker just published a new collection of poems called “The Pedestrians.” A native of New York, she has lived in the city for almost her entire life, which has greatly influenced her poetry. “Being a New Yorker is very intrinsic to my personality,” Zucker told Art Beat. “New York has always shown up in all my poems, but in this book, I was really interested...


Weekly Poem: Nick Lantz uses ‘how-to’ guides as inspiration

Nick Lantz’s new collection of poems is called “How to Dance as the Roof Caves in.” Photo by Vicky Lantz If you pick up Nick Lantz’s new poetry collection, “How to Dance as the Roof Caves in,” you’ll recognize the “self-help” theme running through the titles. To name a few: “How to Travel Alone,” “How to Forgive a Promise Breaker,” “How to Dance When You Do Not Know How to Dance” and even “How to Appreciate Inorganic Matter.” When he first started composing poems for this book, he found a...


Weekly Poem: Peter Cole writes about why we read poetry

Peter Cole thinks of all poetry as translation. “Writing one’s own poetry, you’re translating a nonverbal experience or a less than articulate experience into something much more articulate,” he told Art Beat. In addition to writing his own, Cole translates Hebrew and Arabic poetry into English. When Cole finished translating 2,000 years of Jewish mystical poetry for his previous project “The Poetry of Kabbalah” (Yale University Press, 2012), he was ready to start producing his own work...


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