Arizona PBS announces partnership with ‘Poetry in America’

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Commitment to broad access brings acclaimed program to Arizona State University

Arizona PBS today announced a new partnership with “Poetry in America,” the acclaimed public television program and multi-platform educational initiative that showcases poetry’s relevance to all walks of American life. The partnership establishes Arizona PBS as the new presenting station for the television series, and Arizona PBS will coordinate new seasons of “Poetry in America” with the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) for national distribution.

From Shaquille O’Neal to President Joe Biden, Gloria Estefan to Yo-Yo Ma, actors, performers, scientists, public figures, and everyday Americans join host and director Elisa New in the “Poetry in America” television series to read and discuss unforgettable American poems. Visually dazzling and archivally rich, the 30-minute episodes are adapted into digital educational materials that reach learners from a wide range of backgrounds: college, high school, and middle school learners, as well as educators and lifelong learners.

“All of us at Arizona PBS are excited to join the ‘Poetry in America’ team in its ongoing effort to spread enthusiasm for an art form that inspires humanity and reveals important truths about the human experience,” said Scott Woelfel, General Manager of Arizona PBS. “This presenting station partnership is a natural fit for the vision, mission, and future of Arizona PBS. By leveraging the tools and resources at our disposal as part of Arizona State University (ASU), we’ll be able to help ‘Poetry in America’ continue to grow its national television audience and advance their inspiring educational work.”

Advancing ASU’s mission of expanding access to higher education

“Poetry in America’s” educational work is as integral to this partnership as the television series itself.

“Arizona State University is proud to be the home of ‘Poetry in America’ and its related courses and programs,” said Michael Crow, President of ASU. “This partnership exemplifies our focus on scaling access to educational opportunities in the humanities, disciplines which have, historically, been challenging to teach at scale.”

Since 2020, New, who joined the ASU faculty in 2021, has offered “Poetry in America” courses and programs in collaboration with ASU’s Learning Enterprise, which leads the university’s efforts to advance access to all learners at every stage of life. Through the Learning Enterprise’s groundbreaking programming, “Poetry in America” courses have served thousands of learners across the U.S. and around the world. The vast majority of these learners are actually still in high school: New’s flagship “Poetry in America for High Schools” dual enrollment program connects students from the National Education Equity Lab’s network of Title I high schools with low-cost college credit while helping them build skills and confidence essential for success in college and their careers.

“Like the ‘Poetry in America’ television series, the “Poetry in America” courses are filmed documentary style and are highly engaging but also rigorous,” said Maria Anguiano, Executive Vice President of ASU’s Learning Enterprise. “The courses are suitable for learners across their careers and lives, and prioritize active learning. Plus, for learners who aspire to attend college, they provide a seamless on-ramp to a degree through the ASU Earned Admission program.”

The University plans to expand access to “Poetry in America” offerings still further: in the coming year, new “Poetry in America” course offerings will be available not only to non-degree learners through the Learning Enterprise but also to students in ASU’s many degree programs.

Heading West

The “Poetry in America” television series is moving West and in time for its fourth season, which will release to PBS stations nationwide in April 2024. Arizona PBS members can catch up on the 28 episodes from the series’ last three seasons via Arizona PBS Passport or utilizing the PBS Video App.

“I could not be more excited to be forging this partnership with Arizona PBS and to benefit from the creativity and dynamism of its leadership, and, indeed, of the leaders across the university who strive each day to broaden access to educational opportunities,” New said. “I created ‘Poetry in America’ to demonstrate the power of the humanities: to instruct, to entertain, to inspire, and to motivate human growth. Great works of art kindle human curiosity and spark human creativity.”

Arizona PBS will collaborate with the “Poetry in America” production team to promote the series to three important audiences nationwide: public television station programmers, existing and potential viewers, and members of the education community. Arizona PBS will also forge partnerships with arts and educational institutions across the region and country and play a role in the creation and distribution of series-related promotional and educational assets.

For more information on “Poetry in America,” visit www.poetryinamerica.org.

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