Juan Felipe Herrera

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"Dinky planet on a skateboard of dynamite / Oh, what to do..." Juan Felipe Herrera, who has been appointed a second term as poet laureate of the United States, speaks about meeting young poets and reads from his most recent collection, Notes on the Assemblage (City Lights Publishers, 2015), at the 2016 AWP conference and book fair in Los Angeles. 

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Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women

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“When you think about all her heroines who struggled to curb their temperament and discipline themselves, you get a sense of the writer herself.” Directed by Nancy Porter, this film biography from PBS's American Masters series, offers an intimate portrait of Louisa May Alcott and the influence her novel Little Women continues to have across cultures and generations.

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Aldous Huxley

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“In this book of mine, Brave New World, I postulated a substance called ‘soma’...I think it’s quite on the cards that we may have drugs which will profoundly change our mental states without doing us any harm.” In this Blank on Blank animated video of a 1958 interview with journalist Mike Wallace, Aldous Huxley speaks about his 1932 novel and his predictions for the future of political leadership, propaganda, and technology.

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Crazy Salad

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"It's from 'A Prayer for My Daughter' and the lines are 'It's certain that fine women eat / A crazy salad with their meat,' and I thought it was a nice title for a book about women." In this 1975 interview with Studs Terkel, the late Nora Ephron recounts lines by Yeats, the poetic inspiration for the title of her book of essays Crazy Salad: Some Things About Women (Random House, 1975), and talks about her experiences as a journalist and feminist. Animated by Pat Smith, this video is part of PBS Digital Studio's Blank on Blank series.

Blank on Blank: Patti Smith

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"To me, poetry is one of the highest, most abstract, most fulfilling forms of communication. We've always needed poets." In this recording from 1976, Patti Smith talks to journalist Mick Gold about censorship, her creative habits and inspirations, and recounts her first exposure to the poetry of Arthur Rimbaud. Animated by Patrick Smith, the video is part of PBS Digital Studios' Blank on Blank series.

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