April is National Poetry Month! Listen to current Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, 1960s writer and activist LeRoi Jones, 2013 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry Sharon Olds, and enigmatic 1950s singer/songwriter Connie Converse —as well as other anapestic treats.
Natasha Trethewey is the first African American to hold the title of Poet Laureate since Rita Dove in 1993. She will assume the post in September and will divide her time between Decatur, Georgia and Washington, D.C.
Poet, playwright, and novelist William Packard moderates this 1968 broadcast: Is there a New York poet?
Samuel Menashe of Greenwich Village writes poems. Really short poems.
Amiri Baraka died January 9th after weeks of failing health. He was 79. A playwright, poet, critic and activist, Baraka was one of the most prominent and controversial African American voices in the world of American letters. Speaking at the Overseas Press Club ( and airing on WNYC) in 1965 following the release of his Obie award-winning play The Dutchman, Baraka presented himself as a no-nonsense artist who was not about to compromise his message for anyone. The talk catches Baraka (still known as Leroi Jones) at the height of his radical voice in the 1960s and is critical because it was delivered just four days before the assassination of Malcolm X.
The writer and activist LeRoi Jones (who would later be known as Amiri Baraka) speaks here on February 17, 1965, four days before the assassination of Malcolm X, an event that catapulted him from a charismatic Greenwich Village maverick into a radicalized black nationalist in Harlem.
During the 1950s Connie Converse lived in New York City writing and singing thoughtful, emotional, smart, witty, personal songs. She accompanied herself on guitar, a "singer/songwriter" before that term or style existed. The music industry of her day couldn't pigeonhole her, and didn't welcome her. Discouraged, Connie left New York in 1960, and in 1974 she wrote a series of farewell letters to her friends and family, packed up her Volkswagen Bug and disappeared. She has not been heard from since. This special edition of WNYC's Spinning On Air with David Garland, airs many of Connie's songs for the first time, and tells her story with interviews, commentary, and readings from her letters, journals, and poetry.
Jack Kerouac famously suggested the Beat Generation is "a swinging group…of new American men intent on joy." Scholars and writers join Kerouac in this 1959 discussion at the Brandeis University Club of New York for a rollicking, witty debate.
Promoting his collection Parents Keep Out, poems aimed primarily at teenagers, the poet Ogden Nash displays the well-known rhyming ability and whimsical attitude of his widely appreciated, inimitable light verse at this 1951 Books and Authors Luncheon.
Philip Levine is set to become the nation's Poet Laureate this Fall, but he already was WNYC's Poet in Residence back in 2003. Listen to Levine read William Matthews' "Mingus at the Half Note," and how the poem relates personally to him.
Philip Levine Shares His Favorite Poems
Four Pushcart Prize-winning writers took to the (very, very dim stage) at (Le) Poisson Rouge last month to read from their award-winning works.
T.S. Eliot has said that April is the cruelest month. It’s also Poetry Month, and here at the Lopate Show we’ve been marking it in our own way. Last week we had poet Meghan O’Rourke and former Poet Laureate Billy Collins on to talk about their new works.
We also asked Leonard’s Facebook friends what their favorite poems are and got some great responses. >>>
Poet, author and NYU professor Sharon Olds was joined by her twin nephews Michael & Matthew Dickman at NYU's Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House on March 4th.