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Al Letson

Al Letson
Born (1972-08-08)August 8, 1972
Plainfield, New Jersey
Website Official Website

Al Letson (born August 8, 1972) is an American poet, playwright, performer and radio host. He hosts and produces the show State of the Re:Union, distributed by National Public Radio.

Early life and career

Letson was born in Plainfield, New Jersey, the son of a minister. At the age of twelve he moved with his family to Orange Park, Florida, a suburb of Jacksonville. As a teenager he became interested in recording and hip hop, spending much of his free time in the studio and participating in Jacksonville's music and arts scene. After graduating from Orange Park High School, he took a job as a flight attendant for American Airlines, allowing him to participate in poetry slams across the country.[1]

In 2000 he won the Atlanta Grand Slam and placed third in the National Poetry Slam competition.[2] In 2006 he featured in an episode of the HBO series Def Poetry.[1]

In mid-2013, he had done early voice recording as the MC announcer for the upcoming feature-length traditionally animated film, Dawgtown, currently in storyboarding, and being funded on Indiegogo, after a recent failed attempt on Kickstarter.[3]


Letson subsequently shifted to play writing and acting, and in 2001 he produced his first one-man show, Essential Personnel, for the local Jacksonville stage. The show earned him commissions for his work and performances across the country. In 2004 the Baltimore School for the Arts commissioned him to write Chalk, a "poetical" combining stage acting with poetry.[4] Other plays include Griot[5][6] and Julius X, a retelling of William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar set in Harlem in 1965.[1]

In 2007, Letson produced a short film which he released on the internet; this got him a call to audition for the Fox Network film-themed reality show On the Lot, though he was ultimately not selected.[1]

Public radio

In 2007 Letson discovered a radio competition called the Public Radio Talent Quest on a whim. The program, organized by the Public Radio Exchange (PRX) and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) announced the Public Radio Talent Quest, provided an open search for new public radio talent.[7] The five-round competition started with more than 1,400 applicants and was voted on by fans, professionals and celebrity judges. Letson submitted a pilot for State of the Re:Union, and was chosen as one of three winners. From there, Letson's State of the Re:Union and Glynn Washington's Snap Judgement Radio were awarded funding by the CPB.

The first season of State of the Re:Union aired in 2010. It was renewed for a second season, which began airing in June 2012.[8]

Letson also hosts Reveal, a podcast from PRX and Center for Investigative Reporting, currently in its pilot stage.[9]