Writer Sonia Sanchez returns to Fresh Air to discuss her upcoming book of children's stories, A Sound Investment. She explains the importance of literature and storytelling with her own children, as well as the role of political poetry and the stereotypes of African Americans in television and movies.
Poet Dan Hoffman joins the show to discuss his poem "Brotherly Love," a long poem about William Penn and his vision for the United States. The poem focuses on Penn's treaty with the Native Americans in the area that would become Pennsylvania. Hoffman is the former Poet Laureate of the U. S. and currently works at the University of Pennsylvania.
Poet Maya Angelou has written a new memoir which details her relationship with her son while she worked as a singer and civil rights activist. She discusses the impact of prominent African American leaders like Billie Holiday, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcom X had on her personally and intellectually.
Poet Richard Elman covered the Nicaraguan revolution of 1979, which overthrew the ruling Somoza dynasty. He later returned to the country to see what life was like in the aftermath. Elman also has a side job of writing the novelizations of Hollywood films.
South African poet and anti-apartheid activist Dennis Brutus was in part responsible for blocking his home country's athletes from participating in the Olympic games. After leaving the country to avoid political persecution, he now faces possible deportation from the United States.
In between a series of odd jobs, the two folk musicians made a living performing across the country before settling down in Philadelphia. They join Fresh Air to showcase the kind of energetic music they can make with their traditional instruments.
Poet and performer Lane Kiyomi Nishikawa will be performing his one-man show about being Asian American "Life in the Fast Kabe: Requiem for a Sansei Poet" in Philadelphia. The show contains stories and poems based on his life in Hawaii and San Francisco. He joins the show to discuss his work and life.
Documentarian Bob Mugge's new film "Black Wax" is a performance documentary with poet and activist Gil Scott-Heron. The film documents performances by Scott-Heron, including some with wax figures. Mugge's previous film "Amateur Night at City Hall," was a documentary about Frank Rizzo. The film includes Scott-Heron performing a portion of his poem/song "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised."
Poet Gwendolyn Brooks was, in 1954, the first black person to receive the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. Brooks has written over fifteen books, her poetry has been widely anthologized, and has received over forty honorary doctorates. Brooks is also the Poet Laureate of Illinois. Brooks is in the are to deliver the "Marion Moore Poetry Reading" at Bryn Mawr College. Brooks discusses her career and reads some of her poetry.
"Seaview" is Toby Olson's second novel, and has been nominated for a Penn/Faulkner Award. The novel follows a golf hustler and dying woman who travel across the U. S. Olson is also well known as a poet, especially in the Philadelphia where he is an active member of the "poetry scene." Olson teaches at Temple University where he is developing a Master's degree program in creative writing.
W. D. (BIll) Ehrhart and Jan Barry are poets and publishers whose literary work centers on veterans of the Vietnam War. Ehrhart was recently featured on the PBS series Vietnam: A Television History. Both men read several of their poems on air.
Etheridge Knight began writing poetry while serving a sentence for robbery. He talks with Fresh Air producer Danny Miller about how he draws inspiration from his past experiences as a former prisoner and drug addict.