featured audio

More than five hundred unique presentations by the world’s most influential writers are available in our audio archive. The selected recordings featured here include a brief introduction, with biographical information about the speakers and a summary of the material. We encourage educators worldwide to use these unique resources and share them with your community of readers.


Billy Collins | Dear Reader

This recording from the 2010 Key West Literary Seminar features Collins delivering a lecture and reading entitled “Dear Reader.” “I think of the poem as a social encounter,” says Collins, one equally dependent upon both reader and writer, for “the poem is completed in the mind of the reader.” He quotes noted baseball writer Roger …

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Paul Muldoon | The Borderline

In this recording from the 2010 Key West Literary Seminar, Muldoon delivers a presentation entitled “The Borderline.” In it, Muldoon talks about his childhood growing up in a Catholic ghetto in Northern Ireland, and discusses how the political and military struggles around the Irish border and beyond affected the lives of his family and friends.

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Rita Dove | How Does a Shadow Shine?

As a Pulitzer Prize winner and former Poet Laureate of the United States, Rita Dove is among the most accomplished and recognizable poets of our time. Her collections of poetry include Thomas and Beulah, American Smooth, and, most recently, Sonata Mulattica, an ambitious and fascinating poetic recreation of the life of George Augustus Polgreen Bridgetower, a mixed-race violinist born in 1780 in Vienna.

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A reading by Matthea Harvey | 2010

Matthea Harvey is the author of three collections of poetry and is a contributing editor to jubilat and BOMB. Her 2007 collection, Modern Life, was a New York Times Notable Book, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Weston Cutter, writing for Bookslut, has called Harvey’s work “a form of courage, an act of daring at the outer limits of poetry.”

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A reading by Tina Chang | 2008

Tina Chang is the author of Half-Lit Houses and the co-editor of Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia and Beyond. The New York native was appointed poet laureate of Brooklyn in 2010, and has previously earned honors including an award from the Academy of American Poets and a residency at the MacDowell Colony.

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Robert Pinsky: Modernism and Memory

Robert Pinsky is an acclaimed poet, translator, and essayist whom The New York Times has called “our finest living specimen of this sadly rare breed.” He has spoken of poetry as “one of the most fundamental pleasures a person can experience,” and as U.S. Poet Laureate from 1997-2000, he established the hugely successful Favorite Poem Project, in which Americans from a wide range of backgrounds shared their favorite poems, asserting the role of poetry in the lives of Americans.

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Natasha Trethewey | 2010

Natasha Trethewey reads a selection of poems including “Limen,” “Genus Narcissus,” “Myth,” “Miscegenation,” “Taxonomy,” and “Knowledge: After a Chalk Drawing by J.H. Hasselhorst, 1864.”

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Kay Ryan | 2010 | The Best of It

Kay Ryan was the sixteenth United States Poet Laureate, from 2008-2010. Her work has drawn comparisons to Emily Dickinson, Marianne Moore, and Elizabeth Bishop, and like these poets, Ryan’s masterfully concise poems fuse acute observation of the physical world with equally sharp introspection; they are both funny and dark, playful and ready to strike.

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