Poetic Lives

Julie Harris takes viewers into Emily Dickinson's everyday world in a small New England town, from her father's mansion in Amherst, Massachusetts, to Amherst College and Mount Holyoke College, to couple and contrast facts and insights about the poet.

One of the most-recognized figures in American literary history: poet, patriot, and faithful advocate of democracy. But in his own time, critics denounced Walt Whitman as a "lunatic raving in pitiable delirium." This "American experience" production tells Whitman's life story, from his working class childhood in Long Island to his years as a newspaper reporter in Brooklyn when he struggled to support his impoverished family, then to his reckless pursuit of the attention and affection he craved for his work, to his death in 1892 at the age of 72.

An exploration into the life and work of the iconic American, Carl Sandburg. From an impoverished youth on the prairie of Illinois to the halls of Congress and international notoriety, it was a tale of perseverance and success. During his lifetime he was revered, becoming one of the most successful writers of the 20th century, but when he died in 1967, his legacy suffered an unusual an inexplicably fast decline. His work was disparaged and his remarkable life all but forgotten..

Depicts Allen Ginsberg, an American poet and social activist in the different decades of his life and activities.

Malcolm Hossick uncovers the background history from which Dante came and the way in which he helped to establish a new view of the world where individuals mattered more than rulers. Without the changes begun in Dante's time, it is difficult to see how the democratic system which is now spreading across human society would have become so well-established. In Dante's visit to the underworld, he sees that humanity is as capable of behaving badly as achieving great things for society..

This incisive and entertaining portrait of American poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti explores his vital role as catalyst for numerous literary careers and for the Beat movement itself. Interviews with Ferlinghetti and others reveal a rich mlange of characters and events that unfolded in postwar America. In 1953 Ferlinghetti opened City Lights Bookstore, which quickly evolved into an iconic institution symbolizing social change and literary freedom. Six decades later, it is still going.

Kerouac's writings took American literature to new levels of creativity and inspired unprecedented social change. Rare documentary footage and interviews with Allan Ginsberg and William Burroughs shed light on the life of this amazing writer.