Former New York Governor Mario M. Cuomo reportedly once said, “You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose.”
Now that former Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon has launched her gubernatorial campaign against Mario’s son Andrew, New York’s current governor, it’s worth noting the challenger is no stranger to poetry.
Nixon appears in episode one of a new, 12-part public television series Poetry in America, which will debut on most stations tomorrow, March 28. (Check local listings for day and time; some stations will also debut the series at other times during the spring.) Subsequent episodes will air each Wednesday through May 2.
Each episode features a poem read by a public figure, with a conversation led by series host and director Elisa New, who’s the Powell M. Cabot Professor of American Literature at Harvard University.
The first episode opens with Nixon as Emily Dickinson in the 2016 film, A Quiet Passion, a biopic tracing the poet’s childhood through her last years as a reclusive artist.
Nixon isn’t the only ‘politician’ in the series. In episode nine, US Senator John McCain “discusses poetry’s special resonance for those behind bars.” The series also includes reflections from former Vice President Joe Biden, The New York Times opinion columnist David Brooks, and former United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power.
Lest you think this is a special literary edition of Washington Week, Poetry in America also features performers Yo Yo Ma, U2 lead vocalist Bono, playwright Anna Deavere Smith, hip-hop recording artist/producer Nas, and singer/songwriter Regina Spektor.
Finally, NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal “reads the immersive Edward Hirsch poem ‘Fast Break’ about the universal experience of playing basketball.”
For more information, visit poetryinamerica.org.
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