New Letters
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Marcus Wicker

Michigan native Marcus Wicker talks about how his poetry has progressed since his early days with poetry slams and reads from the 2011 National Poetry Series winning collection, ...

Natasha Trethewey

The 19th U.S. Poet Laureate (2012-14), Natasha Trethewey talks about the role's effect on her work and her life as a literary citizen, and shares some of the projects she took on afterwards, including her year's work selecting poetry for...

Kenneth Irby: Past American Voice

The late poet Kenneth Irby (1936-2015) was born in Texas and raised in southeast Kansas. A history graduate of K.U., he got his graduate degree from Harvard before serving in the U.S. Army. Afterwards, he graduated from Berkeley, and became associ...

Naomi Shihab Nye

In part one of this conversation, Arab-American poet Naomi Shihab Nye, whose numerous books of poetry, essays and stories have delighted children and adults alike, reads from her book, ...

Al Young

In the second half of our conversation with two time American Book Award-winning poet Al Young, he shares more from his book ...

Al Young

Former California Poet Laureate (2005-2008) Al Young has penned 25 books, won two American Book Awards, and was recently included in ...

Jen Mann

Kansas blogger Jen Mann talks about her humorous book Spending the Holidays Wit...

Chanukah Tales

Poet Marilyn Kallet reads from her book, One for Each Night: Chanukah Tales and Recipes, whic...

The World Is One Place

Writers Diane Glancy and Linda Rodriguez discuss co-editing the anthology The World Is One Place: Native American Poets Visit the Middle East. The pair, who both have...

Michelle Boisseau: Past American Voice

Poet Michelle Boisseau died November 15, 2017, at age 62. In this interview conducted earlier this year at the Kansas City Public Library, the late Michelle Boisseau discusses her fifth book, ...

Geoffrey Brock and Padma Viswanathan

In the second half of this interview with poet Geoffrey Brock (shown) and novelist Padma Viswanathan, the husband and wife couple discusses their shared interest in translation. Brock reads a translation of the Italian poet Cesare Pavese from his ...

Geoffrey Brock and Padma Viswanathan

In the first half of this conversation with novelist Padma Viswanathan (shown) and poet Geoffrey Brock, the husband and wife writing duo reveal how they balance their writing careers and family life. Brock reads one of his wife's favorite poems fr...

Terrance Hayes

Award-winning poet Terrance Hayes gives insight into his creative process in this public reading as part of the 2016 Hall Center for the Humanities Lecture Series at the University of Kansas. He shares work from his fifth collection,...

Judith Ortiz Cofer: Past American Voice

The late Puerto Rican writer Judith Ortiz Cofer talks about how her heritage has influenced her work. This multi-genre writer of poetry, fiction, and memoir was Professor Emeritus of English and Creative Writing at the University of Georgia, when ...

John Balaban

Discover the stories behind the poetry of John Balaban, who served as a conscientious objector in Vietnam. He returned to the country later to help war-torn children and to collect folk poems, when he discovered the work of an 18th century Vietnam...

Michael Nava

As an attorney for the California Supreme Court, Michael Nava moonlighted as a novelist, authoring seven novels in the Henry Rios mystery series, six of which won the Lambda Literary Awards for Gay Men's Mystery books. (Now retired, he's reimagine...

Judith Ortiz Cofer: Past American Voice

The work of the late Judith Ortiz Cofer (1952-2016) often reflected her Puerto Rican heritage and her childhood in New Jersey. A li...

John Ashbery: Past American Voice

The poet, critic, and translator John Ashbery, who died on September 3rd at age 90, won nearly every major writing award, including in a single year, the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, and National Book Critics Circle Award. Besides writing ...

Natasha Trethewey

In the first part of this interview, Mississippi Poet Laureate (2012-16) and guest editor of Best American Poetry 2017,...

James Tolan and Olivia Stiffler

Olivia Stiffler always wanted to be a poet, but writing took a backseat to her family life. Decades later, while at a Savannah writing workshop, she met James Tolan (shown), a poet and English professor, who helped her envision her work as a...

Conger Beasley: Past American Voice

We honor the Past American Voice of Conger Beasley Jr.(1940-2016). This author of fiction, poetry, essays and non-fiction covered various subjects, ranging from texts for the Sierra Club Guide to the history of the Lakota Sioux to the fictionalize...

Jeannette Walls

A journalist who worked for such publications as Esquire, New York Magazine, and MSNBC.com, Jeannette Walls turned to memoir for her first book, the 2005 international bestseller, ...

Kent Haruf: Past American Voice

We look back on the life of novelist Kent Haruf (1943-2014), still a favorite writer of book clubs across the country. September 2017 marks the inaugural Kent Haruf Literar...

Judson Mitcham

In the second half of a conversation with Georgia State Poet Laureate (2012-present) Judson Mitcham talks in front of a WUGA audience in Athens, GA, about his two novels, ...

Antonya Nelson

The author of eleven books of short stories and novels, Antonya Nelson appears as UMKC's 2015 Cockefair Chair Writer-in-Residence at the Kansas City Public Library. She talks about her most recent books: the novel ...

Rodney Jones

Visiting Kansas City for the Midwest Poets Series, National Book Critics Circle Award winner Rodney Jones discusses what he learned about the use of language from the late writers and friends, Kent Haruf and ...

Kansas City Literary Events

Maryfrances Wagner & Robert Stewart

Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Overland Park, Kan.

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New Letters Summer 2018 Poetry Series

Follow our new series of poems about children, each day or two through July. Begin reading here. 

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Clarion Awards Selection CD Special

Jamaica KincaidJim ShepardGloria Vando & Anika ParisLuis Alberto Urrea, and Alex George, normally $7.99 per episode, this cd collection comes with over $15.00 in savings. Downloads of these programs have been reduced and are available through our archives.