Good news! The excellent documentary series Visions & Voices is now available online in streaming video thanks to www.learner.org My first experience with this series was the marvellously engaging documentary about Robert Lowell that I borrowed from a friend who owned a copy on VHS. You can watch a sample clip of Lowell reading his spectacular poem "My Last Afternoon with Uncle Devereux Winslow" here.
Aside from Lowell, the series also includes documentaries about Elizabeth Bishop, Hart Crane, Emily Dickinson, T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Marianne Moore, Sylvia Plath, Ezra Pound, Wallace Stevens, Walt Whitman, and William Carlos Williams. I've already watched a few of these, and I'm looking forward to watching the rest.
Here's how the website describes the series:
A video instructional series on American poetry for college and high school classrooms and adult learners; 13 one-hour video programs and coordinated books; also available on CD-ROM.To watch the streaming video-on-demand, you have to register with the site, but it only takes a few seconds to do that. To get started, just visit this website, and soon you'll be enjoying the programs.
The lives and works of 13 renowned American poets are interpreted through dramatic readings, archival photographs, dance, performances, and interviews in this inspiring series. Illustrative poems in each program are accompanied by insights into their historical and cultural connections. The series covers the terminology of poetry and the larger role of poets in American and world literature studies. Poets include Langston Hughes, Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, and Elizabeth Bishop.
If you prefer to buy the series on DVD, you can do that here.