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Poems to a Listener, a half-hour radio program of readings and conversation with poets, consists of quietly penetrating interviews in which poetry is an integral part. A poem is read, a conversation emerges, then the poet simply takes a breath and reads. Gradually a kind of narrative unfolds, the poems documenting certain moments or reflections, the conversations extending them tangibly to the listener. By the time the last word is spoken the listener has been offered a deeply personal encounter where there may be much common ground. As one listener has commented, “I felt I was standing in the doorway of a room, overhearing a conversation which had to do with my life.”

photo by Robert Tobey
Linda Gregg, with interviewer Henry Lyman and his daughter, Christina, 1992

Yehuda Amichai (1994 series)

Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai reads from his Collected Poems, tells the sometimes sad, at times funny stories behind them, and reflects on the conflicts and connections between peoples and faiths...
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Doug Anderson (1994 series)

Reading from Bamboo Bridge and The Moon Reflected Fire, Doug Anderson recalls his experience as a Navy corpsman serving with the Marines in Vietnam…
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James Baldwin (1986 series)

James Baldwin delivers passages from “Staggerlee wonders,” a major work in his selected poems, Jimmie’s Blues. Speaking through the voice of the black folk hero Staggerlee...
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William Bronk (1986 & 1994 series)

(1986 series) Reading poetry from Life Supports, William Bronk moves through a process of systematic doubt, towards a larger, more inclusive apprehension of reality…
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Joseph Bruchac (1994 series)

Joseph Bruchac reads poems from Entering Onandaga and other collections and talks about the Iroquois nations, the Iroquois League, and the Abenaki people, from whom he claims his ancestry…
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Constance Carrier (1986 series)

Constance Carrier offers selections from The Angled Road and speaks of time, change, and generations in her small New England…
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Jared Carter (1986 & 1994 series)

(1986 series) Jared Carter reads from Work, for the Night is Coming, poems of people and places in the towns, farms, and flatlands of Indiana...
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Eleni Fourtouni (1986 series)

Eleni Fourtouni reads her translations of poems and journals from Greek Women in Resistance, personal accounts of women resistance fighters…
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Robert Francis (1984 & 1986 series)

(1984 series) Reading from his Collected Poems, 1936-1976, Robert Francis introduces us to the trees and animals that live around him…
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Tess Gallagher (1986 & 1994 series)

(1986 series) Reading from Under Stars and Willingly, Tess Gallagher recalls the life of her father, a millworker, logger, and longshoreman…
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Margaret Gibson (1984 series)

Margaret Gibson reads from Long Walks in the Afternoon and speaks of the “permeable boundary” between oneself and the world…
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Jack Gilbert (1994 series)

Reading poems from The Great Fires, some of them in earlier versions, Jack Gilbert looks back on the loves and solitudes of a life lived acutely…
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Linda Gregg (1986 & 1994 series)

(1986 series) Linda Gregg reads poems from Alma and draws comparisons between the reverence she feels for the natural world and the openness…
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Donald Hall (1984 & 1994 series)

(1984 series) Reading primarily from The Happy Man, Donald Hall gives us poems about the New Hampshire farm he lives on…
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Seamus Heaney (1983 series)

Reading from Poems 1965-1975 and Field Work, Seamus Heaney, recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize for Literature, speaks of the landscape of Northern Ireland…
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Jane Kenyon (1984 & 1994 series)

(1984 series) Jane Kenyon, reading mostly from The Boat of Quiet Hours, offers poems exploring fear and bereavement and describes her poetry as a means…
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Joseph Langland (1984 series)

Joseph Langland, author of Anybody’s Song, delivers poems which move from early morning sun into the darkness of World War II, to the light he sees…
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Denise Levertov (1984 series)

Reading from Candles in Babylon, Denise Levertov discusses the threat of nuclear war and its psychological effect on adults and on children…
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Manitonquat (1984 series)

Wampanoag poet Manitonquat (Medicine Story) recites his own work and that of other American Indian poets and talks about the dissolution…
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Czeslaw Milosz (1984 series)

Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz, recipient of the 1980 Nobel Prize in Literature, moves from bitterly ironic poems on the Nazi and Stalinist regimes…
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Marie Ponsot (1986 series)

Marie Ponsot reads poems from Love Is Not Love and reflects on the restraints imposed by adulthood and the hidden capacities of…
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Margaret Robison (1984 series)

Margaret Robison, reading from The Naked Bear, gives us poems looking back toward the small south Georgia town of Cairo…
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Andrew Salkey (1986 & 1994 series)

(1986 series) Andrew Salkey reads poetry from Away and discusses the problems and promises of his homeland island, Jamaica…
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Louis Simpson (1986 series)

Louis Simpson reads poems from People Live Here and explores American dreams, American malaise, and life in the suburbs…
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Paul Smyth (1986 series)

Reading from his book Conversions and from a manuscript titled Framing the Picture, Paul Smyth describes his continuing attempt, through…
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William Stafford (1994 series)

Drawing from several of his many collections, William Stafford reads poems which travel from youth to old age, past coyote-haunted…
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James Still (1984 series)

Appalachian poet James Still reads from The Wolfpen Poems and talks about the creeks and hollows of Knott County, Kentucky…
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Alice Walker (1984 series)

Alice Walker, reading from Good Night, Willie Lee and other collections, gives us poems about her childhood in rural Georgia…
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Richard Wilbur (1994 series)

Reading selections from his New and Collected Poems, for which he received the Pulitzer Prize, Richard Wilbur delivers poems that sabotage fixed ideas…
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