Two explorations of American culture, the series finale of “A Chef’s Life” and season one of “Poetry in America” will come out on DVD and digital Jan. 8 from PBS Distribution.
“A Chef’s Life” has taken viewers on a journey to meet unsung farmers, home cooks and chefs, and elevate quintessential Southern dishes to new modern classics. After five seasons of the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning series, only a handful of dishes remain on host and author Vivian Howard’s bucket list. She tackles them all with the help of some friends in this series finale, The Final Harvest, which features some of the show’s most beloved personalities along with memorable flashbacks. Howard’s parents, Mrs. Scarlett and Mr. John, share intimate moments and reveal how their daughter’s success has changed their family. Her husband describes the impact of the series on his family and community.
“Poetry in America” gathers personalities from all walks of life to interpret, explore, and debate 12 American poems. Show host and Harvard professor Elisa New meets with athletes, poets, politicians, musicians, architects, scientists, actors and entrepreneurs to experience and share the power of poetry. Season one follows Carl Sandburg to Chicago and Emily Dickinson to Amherst. Along the way notable personalities such as actor Cynthia Nixon, former Vice President Joe Biden and architect Frank Gehry share their reflections on poems from Gwendolyn Brooks to Allen Ginsberg to Nas. Highlights include sports superstar Shaquille O’Neal reading “Fast Break” by Edward Hirsch and musician Herbie Hancock and former President Bill Clinton sharing their thoughts on Langston Hughes’ “Harlem.” The 12 American poems explored in season one are are “I cannot dance upon my toes” by Emily Dickinson, “Fast Break” by Edward Hirsch, “Those Winter Sundays” by Robert Hayden, “Hymmnn and Hum Bom!” by Allen Ginsberg, “Skyscraper” by Carl Sandburg, “Harlem” by Langston Hughes, “Musée des Beaux Arts” by W.H. Auden, “Shirt” by Robert Pinsky, “To Prisoners” by Gwendolyn Brooks, “The Gray Heron” by Galway Kinnell, “N.Y State of Mind” by Nas and “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus.