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Summary: Read by noted actors Michael Gough, Edward Fox, and Eileen Atkins, T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land powerfully expresses the disillusionment and disgust of the post-World War I era in Europe. In this program, Professor Frank Kermode, of Cambridge University; Eliot biographer Peter Ackroyd; and poets Sir Stephen Spender and Craig Raine examine the complex nature of Eliot's influential poem, analyze...

Format: software, multimedia

Publisher / Publication Date: Films Media Group 2005

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Summary: In the 1950s, Senator Joseph McCarthy set up the Un-American Activities Committee to combat the growing "threat" of communism in the U.S. Playwright Arthur Miller was one of many writers summoned to testify at this political witch-hunt. Miller, who was nearly ruined, said that until that time he had not understood the "inexplicable darkness" that prevented people from seeing evil and denouncing...

Format: software, multimedia

Publisher / Publication Date: Films Media Group 2005

View online at AVOD

Summary: This outstanding program traces the life of Tennessee Williams, revisiting the locations in the southern states that were his inspiration. Scenes from Williams' most memorable works, including The Glass Menagerie and A Streetcar Named Desire, evoke the atmosphere, characters, and conflicts of the Deep South, while footage of a rare television interview and a dramatic reenactment of the life of...

Format: software, multimedia

Publisher / Publication Date: Films Media Group 2006

View online at AVOD

Summary: Hosted by Eli Wallach, this program dissects Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun through the sharp insights of Joe Morton (Walter Lee Younger); Kim Yancey (Beneatha Younger); Phylicia Rashad (Lena Younger); Ruby Dee, Audra McDonald, Starletta DuPois, and Ernestine Jackson (Ruth Younger); Ralph Carter (Travis Younger); John Fiedler (Carl Lindner); directors Lloyd Richards and Jack Hofsiss;...

Format: software, multimedia

Publisher / Publication Date: Films Media Group 2008

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Summary: Following acclaimed poet and memoirist Maya Angelou on a visit to her childhood surroundings in Stamps, Arkansas, this Bill Moyers interview remains a classic of broadcast journalism and a valuable teaching tool for African-American studies. "I was terribly hurt in this town," Angelou tells Moyers, "and vastly loved." She recalls her rapturous discovery of Shakespeare (while savoring a favorite...

Format: software, multimedia

Publisher / Publication Date: Films Media Group 2010

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Summary: In Grover's Corners, New Hampshire, the time is 1901 and the place is America's collective memory. But Thornton Wilder's Our Town is not the sentimental nostalgia piece most people perceive. This program hosted by Eli Wallach offers wide-ranging and extraordinarily deep insights into the play from those who arguably know it best: Our Town alumni who over the years have brought the play to life...

Format: software, multimedia

Publisher / Publication Date: Films Media Group 2007

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Summary: In this incisive program, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson returns home to the Hill District of Pittsburgh in 1990 to review his life and career. Archival footage and interviews with Wilson, former New York Times theater critic Frank Rich, fellow writers, and others provide insights into the African-American experience, from the Great Black Migration to more recent...

Format: software, multimedia

Publisher / Publication Date: Films Media Group 2005

View online at AVOD

Summary: Tennessee Williams' masterpiece The Glass Menagerie is a prime example of the memory play in modern literature. In this program hosted by Eli Wallach, former cast members and directors of Menagerie discuss plot and thematic elements, the characterization of some of theater's most memorable and enduring dramatic figures, and the era in which the play was written. Commentary is provided by Ruby...

Format: software, multimedia

Publisher / Publication Date: Films Media Group 2007

View online at AVOD

Summary: Filmed on the set of Two Trains Running, one of America's leading playwrights traces his work back to a troubled childhood in a Pittsburgh ghetto. His ongoing project to write a play on African American life set in each decade of the 20th century is one of the most ambitious endeavors in American theatrical history. In this program, he describes his award-winning plays Joe Turner's Come and...

Format: software, multimedia

Publisher / Publication Date: Films Media Group 2005

View online at AVOD

Summary: This program traces the path of African-American literature from the shores of the U.S. to the Left Bank of Paris at the end of World War II through the late 1960s. The program provides context by first exploring the New Orleans salon poetry of Desdunes and discussing the historic suppression of black activists in the U.S. After the Harlem Renaissance, an increasingly hostile climate drove...

Format: software, multimedia

Publisher / Publication Date: Films Media Group 2005

View online at AVOD

Summary: I have the strength to walk my own path, no matter how hard, in my search for reality, and not cling to the splendid wagon of desperate illusions. A writer of novels, short stories, folktales, plays, and essays, Zora Neale Hurston combined a hunger for research and a desire to penetrate the deepest of popular beliefs with a truly exquisite narrative talent. This illuminating biography of...

Format: software, multimedia

Publisher / Publication Date: Films Media Group 2006

View online at AVOD

Summary: John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, a portrait of friendship and loneliness, is a tribute to the half million who headed to California in search of work and the American dream. In this program, Dr. Susan Shillinglaw of the Center for Steinbeck Studies discusses labor exploitation in the Salinas valley during the Depression era to reinforce an appreciation of the precarious lifestyle faced by...

Format: software, multimedia

Publisher / Publication Date: Films Media Group 2005

View online at AVOD

Summary: The effect of Jane Hirshfield's reading is almost transcendental, like the sound of distant echoes in a canyon. "I know that many of my poems don't evoke clapping," she says, "and I want to assure you that I take silence as a high compliment. In this program, Bill Moyers and Ms. Hirshfield discuss topics including her experience as a practitioner of Zen and the relative merits of sound and...

Format: software, multimedia

Publisher / Publication Date: Films Media Group 2006

View online at AVOD

Summary: In this program, two poets reflect on the cultural legacies they have inherited. Lucille Clifton and David Mura bring their talent and humor to bear as they look at the past and the lives they live in America today. Filmed at the Biennial Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival.

Format: software, multimedia

Publisher / Publication Date: Films Media Group 2006

View online at AVOD

Summary: Poetry's ability to bridge gaps and cross boundaries is emphasized in this program through the works of Robert Hass, Claribel Alegria, and Carolyn Forche. Distinctly different in terms of background and style, these three artists are identical in their ability to transport audiences to new places, new feelings, and new hopes. Filmed at the Biennial Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival.

Format: software, multimedia

Publisher / Publication Date: Films Media Group 2006

View online at AVOD

Summary: In this exclusive interview, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Arthur Miller speaks about his life and career. Beginning in New York, Miller traces his early years through the Great Depression, offering insights into how this lean time influenced his work. A portion of the program is devoted to a discussion of the 1950s McCarthy hearings and their impact on the development of Miller's...

Format: software, multimedia

Publisher / Publication Date: Films Media Group 2005

View online at AVOD

Summary: Bharati Mukherjee writes vivid, sensual, and troubling stories about America's newest immigrants, Asians like herself. Mukherjee's early novels spoke from India, the old world she left behind to marry an American. Upon arriving in America she set out to capture the New World experiences of Asian immigrants. In this program with Bill Moyers, Mukherjee discusses America's newest immigrants and...

Format: software, multimedia

Publisher / Publication Date: Films Media Group 2007

View online at AVOD

Summary: This program profiles Stanley Kunitz, one of America's leading poets. Kunitz reads his poetry and discusses his work in extensive interviews. "You don't choose the subject [of your poetry]," says Kunitz, "it chooses you. He asserts that poets must aim simply to "be as true as we can to the grain of life. Kunitz also stresses the importance of reading poetry aloud: "It is important to test your...

Format: software, multimedia

Publisher / Publication Date: Films Media Group 2009

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Summary: This stirring, classic documentary focuses on a unique, inspiring relationship: the love and creative connection between poet Donald Hall-named U.S. Poet Laureate in June of 2006-and his late wife Jane Kenyon. Filmed largely at Eagle Pond Farm in New Hampshire, an ancestral heritage for six generations of Halls, the program explores the impact of the New England tradition on the work of both...

Format: software, multimedia

Publisher / Publication Date: Films Media Group 2005

View online at AVOD

Summary: A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Old Man and the Sea. These titles immediately bring to mind the adventurous life of their Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Ernest Hemingway. This program explores his life and literary psyche through the eyes of those who knew him. As the program progresses, the many identities of Hemingway are revealed: husband, journalist, World War I...

Format: software, multimedia

Publisher / Publication Date: Films Media Group 2006

View online at AVOD

Summary: In this captivating program, Bill Moyers explores the vitality and diversity of contemporary poetry through intimate interviews and performance readings at the Biennial Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival-North America's largest. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, Amiri Baraka, Stanley Kunitz, Coleman Barks, Lucille Clifton, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Paul Muldoon, Marge Piercy, Shirley Geok-lin Lim,...

Format: software, multimedia

Publisher / Publication Date: Films Media Group 2005

View online at AVOD

Summary: I was saved from sin when I was going on 13. But not really saved. It happened like this. So begins this powerful dramatization of "Salvation," Langston Hughes' eloquent autobiographical story that illustrates how his aunt's well-meaning efforts to bring him into the spiritual fold resulted in a moral crisis. Calmly waiting for Jesus to appear to him in the hot, crowded church, young Langston's...

Format: software, multimedia

Publisher / Publication Date: Films Media Group 2005

View online at AVOD

Summary: The works of Leslie Marmon Silko are strongly rooted in her own matrilineal tribal background. Like all writing of lasting value, they use particular experiences and places to reveal universal truths. Here, Silko discusses her own background and the interrelationship between her smaller, immediate Native American world and the larger, brutal surrounding world.

Format: software, multimedia

Publisher / Publication Date: Films Media Group 2005

View online at AVOD

Summary: Can you imagine? That woman went on for pages just about ironing. Standing there ironing! said an unimaginative judge about Tillie Olsen's short story, submitted in a competition for a fellowship at Stanford University. Olsen credits that fellowship, which she won, as the catalyst that transformed her back into a professional writer after 20 years of motherhood. In this interview conducted by...

Format: software, multimedia

Publisher / Publication Date: Films Media Group 2006

View online at AVOD

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