Feel free to take a seat, because Shaq and Joe Biden are here to read you some poems. In honor of National Poetry Month, PBS member station WGBH and American Public Television will be premiering a 12-part television event that celebrates poetry through special readings and in-depth conversations. The series, which is called “Poetry in America,” will be hosted by Harvard University professor Elisa New and features individuals like U2 lead vocalist Bono, shoe designer Stuart Weitzman, former United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Senator John McCain, hip-hop artist Nas, singer/songwriter Regina Spektor, former President Bill Clinton, and “The New York Times” opinion columnist David Brooks.
Each episode will focus on a different poem and will feature various individuals reflecting on its history, social relevance, artistic value, and personal meanings. Scheduled poems include Carl Sandburg’s “Skyscraper,” Emily Dickinson’s “I Cannot Dance Opon My Toes,” and Langston Hughes’ “Harlem.” One episode even includes rappers and fans breaking down the poetry behind Nas’ iconic hip-hop track “N.Y. State of Mind.” Another includes four exonerated prisoners discussing poetry’s resonance for those in prison.
You can visit the program’s website for more information. “Poetry in America” will premiere on public television stations beginning on March 28 and will run through May 2 — check local listings. Until then, feel free to check out the trailer below: