Versify Versify is part storytelling and part poetry. It begins by sending our team of poets out into neighborhoods and to community events, where we invite people to share a story from their life. The person they are sharing it to — the person listening — is one of our poets. This is where the magic comes in. The poet listens intently and then turns that life story into a poem, on the spot.
Versify

Versify

From Nashville Public Radio

Versify is part storytelling and part poetry. It begins by sending our team of poets out into neighborhoods and to community events, where we invite people to share a story from their life. The person they are sharing it to — the person listening — is one of our poets. This is where the magic comes in. The poet listens intently and then turns that life story into a poem, on the spot.

Most Recent Episodes

A Woman And A Dragon, Part One

Linda Ragsdale felt lucky to get the last seat on a trip to Mumbai, intending to deepen her practice of meditation. She found herself instead struggling for survival — in the middle of India's most severe terrorist attack in decades. In part one of this two-part season finale, we hear how Linda's world disintegrated into chaos - and began to find order once again. Warning: This episode contains descriptions of violence. Versify is a production of Nashville Public Radio and The Porch, Nashville's nonprofit literary center. Editing and production came from WPLN's Emily Siner, with additional editing by Anita Bugg, Susannah Felts and Mack Linebaugh. The episode was hosted, scripted and produced by Joshua Moore. The music is by Blue Dot Sessions and Jahzzar. Versify is distributed by PRX. Please support Nashville Public Radio's podcasts at wpln.org/give.

It Took 27 Years & Then It Popped

Have you ever had the nightmare where your standing at the front of an audience, about to say something important, but when you open your mouth there's nothing? Well imagine waking up in that nightmare and realizing that you couldn't get out. That's exactly what happened to KC Steedle, the night that a mysterious blackout nearly killed his dream of ever having a career in the music industry. Today KC tells poet Ciona Rouse about the disquieting experience of confronting a medical anomaly. And a surprising change in plan that ultimately saved his career, and his life. Then Ciona takes his unsettling tail, and turns it into poetry.

22: Before I Could Give Her The Ring

A craving for novelty and excitement is a hallmark of early adulthood. But for Jakob Lewis, host of WPLN's podcast Neighbors, a summertime quest for new experiences nearly cost him his life. Today, Jakob tells the story of how a thirst for adventure landed him on the front lines of a California wildfire at the age of 20. He shares his experience to poet Lagnajita Mukhopadhyay, who takes his fiery tale and turns it into poetry. Versify is a production of Nashville Public Radio and The Porch, Nashville's nonprofit literary center. Editing and production came from WPLN's Mack Linebaugh, with additional editing by Anita Bugg. The episode was hosted, scripted and produced by Joshua Moore. Today's story and poem were recorded by Tony Gonzalez at the 2017 Southern Festival of Books. ** **The music is by Blue Dot Sessions, Scott Gratton and Jahzzar, courtesy of the Free Music Archive. Versify is distributed by PRX.

21: Saturn Returns By I-40 West

After leaving suburban Tennessee for a career in Hollywood when he was just 18, Brad Wear became, in a lot of ways, the picture of LA success. But twenty years later, Brad was struck with a feeling of absence, of being fully out of touch — with himself and his family, from whom he'd been estranged. Brad tells the story about his journey to reconnect and the cost of finding home again to poet Chance Chambers, who takes what he hears and composes an original poem. Versify is a production of Nashville Public Radio and The Porch, Nashville's nonprofit literary center. Editing and production came from WPLN's Blake Farmer, with additional editing by Anita Bugg and Susannah Felts. The episode was hosted, scripted, and produced by Joshua Moore. Today's story and poem were recorded by Tasha Lemley at OZ Art's 2018 MusiCircus Event. The music is by Chad Crouch, Jahzzar, Podington Bear, and Yair Yona, courtesy of the Free Music Archive. Versify is distributed by PRX.

20: Mercy At The Ryman

For singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier, coming to country music in her 40s was one of many things that made her feel like an industry outsider. Today, Mary speaks with poet Destiny Birdsong about her unconventional entry into the music business, and how an unforgettable performance at the Ryman redefined Mary's relationship to her music — and to herself. Destiny takes the high notes of their conversation and composes an original poem. Versify is a production of Nashville Public Radio and The Porch, Nashville's nonprofit literary center. Editing and production came from WPLN's Blake Farmer, with additional editing by Anita Bugg and Susannah Felts. The episode was hosted, scripted, and produced by Joshua Moore. Today's story and poem were recorded by Tony Gonzalez at The Porch Writers' Collective 2017 Annual fundraiser. The music is by Mary Gauthier, as well as Josh Woodard, Podington Bear and Jahzzar— found through the Free Music Archive. Versify is distributed by PRX.

19: Thank God For That Judge

Being in love often requires making sacrifices, but for Helen German, the sacrifice was a big one: Finding romance meant losing the approval of her family. Today, Helen relates the details of her life story, from surviving the air raids of World War II to sustaining a 65 year marriage, while managing to hold on to her beliefs. Helen shares her story to poet Bryan Byrdlong, who turns her lifetime of perseverance into poetry.

18: Never Forget Your Name, Lyzette

For Lyzette Garza, learning to embrace her Mexican-American heritage has been a lifelong journey. Lyzette speaks with poet Kelley Bell about her formative childhood moments: hearing stories from her dad under the stars, encountering prejudice on a family trip to Colorado, and how those experiences — along with her father's enduring love of boots — have helped shape Lyzette's perspective on her culture. And Kelley takes Lyzette's account and turns it into poetry. Versify is a production of Nashville Public Radio and The Porch, Nashville's nonprofit literary center. Editing and production came from WPLN's Mack Linebaugh, with additional editing by Anita Bugg and Susannah Felts. The episode was hosted, scripted and produced by Joshua Moore. Today's story and poem were recorded by Luke Wiget at The 2017 Southern Festival of Books. The music is by Chad Crouch, Podington Bear, Doctor Turtle, and Yair Yona found through the Free Music Archive. Versify is distributed by PRX.

17: Ending The Game With Sunset

For most people, living with your parents past your early 20s isn't something to make a point of bringing up in public. But Paresh Sheth says that living with his mom and dad in a three generation household has deepened his understanding of commitment — especially now that his mother is in the hospital. Paresh shares his story of witnessing the evolution of his parent's relationship to poet Alicia Marie Brandewie, who takes their struggle, love and change and turns it into poetry.

16: Acknowledgment of Paternity for a Child Born to an Unmarried Woman

Amelia and Mark share the story of their intense uncertainty about having their first child, Silas — but the surprising joy of his first year. As 30-something New Yorkers transplanted to Nashville, they're more ironic than emotive in telling this tale, but their words resonate with poet Susannah Felts, who weaves a detail-laden poem to crystallize the family's first year.

15: How They Met

When our poets ask people to share an important story from their lives, they often like to tell us about how they met their partners. And though she admits it's a bit cliché...Marcia Barker shares the story of an unlikely first encounter with a handsome stranger named Brent, and a resulting romance full of jetsetting, serendipity and suspicion.

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