One hundred years after its first publication in August 1915, Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken” is so ubiquitous that it’s easy to forget that it is, in fact, a poem.

Widely admired as the poetry columnist for the New York Times Book Review, David Orr deftly illuminates the poem’s enduring greatness while revealing its mystifying contradictions, in The Road Not Taken: Finding America In The Poem Everyone Loves And Almost Everyone Gets Wrong.

Orr examines the poem’s cultural influence, its artistic complexity, and its historical journey from the margins of the First World War all the way to its place today as a true masterpiece of American literature.


  Our dear friend and colleague, Paul Elisha, has died at the age of 92. Paul was an inspiration, a mentor and confidant. He was filled with wit, passion, integrity and an understanding of what made us better people. There was music and poetry which he dispensed with beauty and candor.

Paul had been a part of The Roundtable since its inception. He was a frequent commentator, he hosted our long-time "Performance Place" series, and would regularly interview noted poets for his "A Bard's Eye View" segment.

In remembrance of Paul we share two of these interviews. The first with William Jay Smith and the second with Djelloul Marbrook.

He’s being remembered as an Renaissance man. We’re honoring Paul Elisha today at WAMC — a  WWII veteran, poet, professional musician and longtime voice on these airwaves who died Sunday at 92 after suffering a stroke.

  Walt Whitman’s Drum-Taps: The Complete 1865 Edition is the first publication of Whitman’s original Civil War poetry collection since the bard himself published Drum-Taps over 150 years ago. Many of the poems in Drum-Taps eventually found their way into Leaves of Grass.

Lawrence Kramer is an English professor and musicologist at Fordham University and is especially interested in the sonic elements of Whitman’s poetry. He has set several of Whitman’s poems to music and has a unique perspective on this great American poet’s work as a result.

Prof. Kramer will be reading from and speaking about Drum-Taps at Oblong Books & Music in Rhinebeck, NY on Wednesday, August 5th.

  Basilica Screenings is a film series that presents an array of works from new and repertory narrative features, documentaries, experimental films – programmed by Basilica Hudson’s film curator, Aily Nash, and creative directors Melissa Auf der Maur and Tony Stone.

Melissa joins us now along with artist, Jack Walls whose exhibition “Paintings, Et Cetera” will open in the back gallery at Basilica Hudson this Friday and be on display through August 1st.

Jack Walls has been a fixture of the New York creative scene since the early 1980s, working primarily in collage and painting. He is also a poet and will read from The Ebony Prick of the White Rose’s Thorn with musical accompaniment by Harbour to celebrate the exhibition opening this Thursday. The opening event will also include a screening of the 1989 short doc, Eye to Eye – a film about Robert Mapplethorpe – Wall’s longtime partner and fellow artist.

Melissa Auf der Maur and Jack Walls join us.


A Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and longtime English professor at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst has died. James Tate was 71.

  Professor Elizabeth Alexander is a poet, essayist, playwright and teacher. She was recently named a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, as well as the inaugural Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry at Yale University. In 2009, she composed and delivered “Praise Song for the Day” for the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

In her memoir, The Light of the World, she finds herself at an existential crossroads after the sudden death of her husband. She tells a love story that is, itself, a story of loss. She reflects on the beauty of her married life, the trauma resulting from her husband’s death, and the solace found in caring for her two sons.

  In this week’s Classical Music According to Yehuda, Yehuda Hanani speak with Alan Chartock about the Edgar Allan Poe and Maurice Ravel.

  This year’s month-long Berkshire Festival of Women Writers kicks of on Sunday, March 1st.

Berkshire Festival of Women Writers a collaborative, multi-venue event sponsored by Bard College at Simon’s Rock with many local partners, celebrated during March – which is of course Women’s History Month. This is the festivals Fifth Anniversary Season and includes an exciting line-up of readings, lectures, workshops, performances and screenings by women writers from the Berkshire region.

Dr. Jennifer Browdy is the Founding Director of the festival and she joins us.

  Donald Hall has lived a remarkable life of letters, a career capped by a National Medal of the Arts, awarded by the president. Now, in the “unknown, unanticipated galaxy” of very old age, he is writing searching essays that startle, move, and delight.