ELA High School
Alfred Tennyson, better known as Lord Tennyson, was Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland for 42 years during the reign of Queen Victoria. His short lyrical poems appealed to the people of the 19th century, many of whom couldn’t read. One of this most famous poems “The Charge of the Light Brigade” describes a real event during the Crimean War. This charge, during the Battle of Balaclava in 1854, became the most well-known action of the war thanks to Tennyson’s poem, even though the poem wasn’t entirely accurate. Listen to learn more about the Crimean War, the real charge and how Tennyson’s words brought this event to life for the British people.
ELA High School
Thomas Stearns Eliot OM, best known as T.S. Eliot, was one of the great modernist poets of the 20th century. His work was part of a specific moment in history and art, before and after World War I, when identity, nations and art were fractured. Listen to learn more about the world in which Eliot wrote and why his poem “The Waste Land” remains one of the pillars of the high modernism movement.
Current Event May 8, 2015
How realistic is the “American Dream”? Is upward mobility a reality for everyone today? Are people still better off than their parents? These are the questions driving a study of economic mobility by economists at Harvard and UC Berkeley, as well as the radio reporter in this story. With a focus on Dayton, Ohio, its past and present, this story analyzes the modern factors that stunt economic mobility in West Dayton and other neighborhoods like it. It looks at whether the “American Dream” is truly attainable for everyone.
ELA Middle School
Maya Angelou was an author, poet and icon. She grew up during segregation and used her work to empower and give voice to the African American community. Her memoir, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" changed the literary world and opened doors for African American authors and women.
Current Event July 12, 2014
In 1855, American poet Walt Whitman published the first edition of “Leaves of Grass.” This poetry collection, which began as twelve poems, was written and re-written by Whitman throughout his life, with the final version containing 400 poems. The free verse poems present Whitman’s philosophy of life, from pleasure to the human mind and nature. Whitman explores and presents humanity through his poetry. Listen to learn why modern poet Rowan Ricardo Phillips recommends the Whitman collection and then interpret the poem “I Hear America Singing” for yourself.
Current Event December 5, 2013
Phillis Wheatley lived an extraordinary life. Born in West Africa and sold into slavery in Boston, Massachusetts, Wheatley became the first published African-American woman and poet. In addition to being a poet, Wheatley exchanged letters with religious leaders and philanthropists. Some of her letters have survived, including one in which she reflects on the American Revolution. Listen to learn about this valuable letter, which was auctioned off in 2005.
Current Event December 2, 2013
American poet Emily Dickinson was known as an eccentric recluse throughout her life. Dickinson maintained friendships through letter writing. She wrote poetry privately. Her unusual poetry style wasn’t truly discovered until after her death in 1886 when her sister Lavinia found nearly 1,800 of her sister’s poems. Though Lavinia had promised to destroy her sister’s papers, she instead had the poems published, which led to Emily’s fame as a great American poet. Listen to learn how her poetry continues to be an inspiration today.
Current Event November 30, 2013
American poet Sylvia Plath is well known for her work, her life and her death. Plath’s suicide in February 1963 shocked a generation of readers and writers, shining a light on the plight of women and mental illness. These are the topics that Plath had written about in her semi-autobiographical novel “The Bell Jar.” Fifty years after her dramatic death, Plath’s poetry lives on. Listen to learn more about the life of Sylvia Plath and the collection of poetry, “Ariel,” published after her death.
Current Event November 19, 2013
William Shakespeare wrote some of the most famous and recognizable love poems of all time, but some historians think that Shakespeare had no intention of publishing these private messages. His sonnets were largely biographical and it is believed they were written to another man. When a collection of these personal sonnets were published by a shady publisher named Thomas Thorpe, Shakespeare tried to stop their distribution. Listen to learn more about Shakespeare’s sonnets and their unwanted publication.
Current Event November 14, 2013
Dante Alighieri finished writing the three part epic poem “Divine Comedy” in 1321. The poem’s three parts, hell, purgatory and heaven follow one man on his journey through all three imaginary places. This great work of Italian literature has survived the ages and remains a classic today. There have been many translations of Dante’s work. This story interviews Clive James, the most recent English translator, about this epic poem and his translated version of “Divine Comedy.”
Current Event November 7, 2013
English Romantic poetry is often misunderstood and not considered in the context of the life of the poets or the era in which they lived. The movie “Bright Star” by director Jane Campion explores the life of poet John Keats and the romantic relationship that drove him to write his most famous works. Campion explores the short life and love of this well-known poet. From the difficulty people have understanding poetry to considering Keats, Byron and Shelley in their historical context, this interview with Campion will open your eyes to the world of 19th Century English Romantic poetry.
Current Event November 5, 2013
Author Rudyard Kipling was the most popular writer of his era. He wrote novels, short stories and poems that adults and children have enjoyed for generations. Kipling lives on through his children stories like “The Jungle Book” and his most controversial poem “The White Man’s Burden." Born in India and relocated to England, Kipling experienced colonial life firsthand. Kipling’s support of colonial expansion has caused some to brand him as an imperialist. Listen to learn more about his life and hear some of his newly discovered poetry.
Current Event November 4, 2013
Alfred Tennyson, better known as Lord Tennyson, was Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland for 42 years during the reign of Queen Victoria. His short lyrical poems appealed to the people of the 19th century, many of whom couldn’t read. One of this most famous poems “The Charge of the Light Brigade” describes a real event during the Crimean War. This charge, during the Battle of Balaclava in 1854, became the most well known action of the war thanks to Tennyson’s poem, even though the poem wasn’t entirely accurate. Listen to learn more about the Crimean, War, the real charge and how Tennyson’s words brought this event to life for the British people.
Current Event October 31, 2013
When World War I ended on November 11, 1918, the world was relieved. The death and destruction of “The Great War” was over. In modern history the First World War is often overshadowed by the Second, but its legacy of war poets cannot be overlooked. From soldiers in battle to people on the home front, poetry was used to process and communicate the realities of war and loss. Listen to learn more about these poets and hear some of their works.
Current Event October 29, 2013
Thomas Stearns Eliot OM, better known as T.S. Eliot, was one of the great modernist poets of the 20th century. His work was part of a specific moment in history and art, before and after World War I, when identity, nations and art were fractured. Imagine the modernism of Picasso and Cubism and apply the same idea to poetry. Listen to learn more about the world in which Eliot wrote and why his poem “The Waste Land” remains one of the pillars of high modernism.
Current Event February 1, 2013
American poet Robert Frost wrote about rural life in New England. His colloquial language and focus on nature struck a chord with everyday people and critics. He won four Pulitzer Prizes for poetry during his lifetime, and his legacy has lived on through his writing and his friends. Listen to learn more about Frost’s life, work and religion through his friend, Jonathan Reichert.