Happy National Poetry Month!

April 7, 2021 Alyssa Beno Leave a Comment

April is National Poetry Month – a month to honor and celebrate poets, past and present, and their craft. PBS Wisconsin invites you to explore poets and poetry, both local and beyond, with this selection of programs streaming online now.


Hip-Hop U: The First Wave Scholars

Produced in 2018, Hip-Hop U follows a group of UW-Madison students in the renowned hip-hop arts scholarship program First Wave. It showcases the art of “spoken word,” defined by the Poetry Foundation as “a broad designation for poetry intended for performance…characterized by rhyme, repetition, improvisation and word play, and frequently referring to issues of social justice, politics, race and community.”

Wisconsin Life: Rhythm Makers

Host Angela Fitzgerald heads to Blackhawk Island in Jefferson County to explore the life of poet Lorine Niedecker.

University Place: Translating the Classics

Emily Wilson, professor in the Department of Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, offers insights into how she translated the classic poem, “The Odyssey.” Wilson, the first woman to translate the story into English, remains faithful to Homer’s original work.

University Place: Writing Wisconsin’s Communities

Kimberly Blaeser, former Wisconsin Poet Laureate; Fabu, Former Madison Poet Laureate; Dion Kempthorne, Dean Emeritus at UW-Richland Center; and Timothy Yu, Associate Professor of English and Asian American Studies at UW-Madison, discuss how poetry and fiction can shape the future of our communities by engaging diverse populations.

University Place: American Poets on Death and Suffering in the Civil War

Beth Lueck, professor of Languages and Literature at UW-Whitewater, discusses the poems written during the Civil War to come to terms with the death of loved ones and to bear witness to the losses. Poems focused on loss, displacement and sorrow.


Robert Bly: A Thousand Years of Joy

A moving portrait of one of America’s most celebrated and revolutionary poets of the last half-century. The film showcases Bly’s development as a writer with an unswerving belief in the importance of poetry both to his own life and to American culture in general.

NOVA: Aboriginal Elder Sings Ancient Creation Song

For tens of thousands of years, Aboriginal culture has been handed down orally through song and poetry without the need to write anything down.

The Art Assignment: Having a Coke with Frank O’Hara

Frank O’Hara is best known for his poetry, but in this Art Cooking we explore his life as a poet as well as an art curator at MoMA.


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Poetry in America

Poetry in America gathers distinguished interpreters from all walks of life to explore and debate 12 unforgettable American poems. PBS Wisconsin Passport membersexplore the full collection here.

American Masters: N. Scott Momaday: Words From a Bear

Delve into the enigmatic life and mind of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and poet N. Scott Momaday, best known for “House Made of Dawn” and a formative voice of the Native American Renaissance in art and literature.

American Masters: Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive

Best known for his Gothic horror tales and narrative poem “The Raven,” Poe’s stories are the basis of countless films and TV episodes, and have inspired even more, as has his name and image. Determined to re-invent American literature, Poe was an influential – and brutally honest – literary critic and magazine editor, who also invented the detective protagonist with his character C. Auguste Dupin.