Poetry in America: Season 1

2 discs. 305 min. Elisa New, dist. by PBS, shoppbs.org. 2019. DVD 9781531708702. $39.99. SDH subtitles. POETRY
Harvard professor New hosts the 12 episodes of Season 1 of this PBS series. The 13 poems and their 12 poets are interpreted by individuals ranging from statesmen Bill Clinton and Joe Biden to students at a Massachusetts nature camp, driving to the heart of feeling, empathy, and emotions of loneliness and loss. Musicians such as Yo-yo Ma, Bono, Nas, Herbie Hancock, and Regina Spektor offer particular insights into the rhythms and tonality of the works discussed. Poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, playwright and activist Anna Deavere Smith, shoe designer Stuart Weitzman, architect Frank Gehry, National Basketball Association stars Shaquille O'Neal and Shane Battier, actor Cynthia Nixon, former prisoners, immigrants, and academics weigh in as well. The television medium particularly lets the poems be discovered visually through dance, music, graphics, and photography.
VERDICT Viewers should freely sample the videos from the series website if they are still unconvinced that poetry discussions can be that fascinating. A quality addition to libraries' literature collections.
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