The Slowdown: Poetry & Reflection Daily

American Public Media

Poet Major Jackson is your guide on the pathways to feel and understand our common journey – through poetry. In sharing poems, we take a moment to pause and acknowledge the world’s magnitude, and how poets illuminate that mystery. Join The Slowdown for a poem and a moment of reflection in one short episode, every weekday. Produced by APM Studios in partnership with The Poetry Foundation and supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. The Slowdown is your daily poetry ritual. Make us a part of your routine as you drink coffee in the morning, as you take a walk in nature, or as you wind down to go to sleep in the evening. With host Major Jackson, we collectively take a moment to calm, to inspire, to learn, and to engage with the best emerging poets and established writers of our time and generations past, from Emily Dickinson to Danez Smith, from Amanda Gorman to Mary Oliver. Listen to our back catalog for episodes by our previous hosts, Tracy K. Smith and Ada Limón, as well as guest hosts Jenny Xie, Brenda Shaughnessy, Tina Chang, Nate Marshall, Shira Erlichiman, and Jason Schneiderman. Our hosts and production team select poems that move them, and we hope they move you, too.

  • 7 minutes 6 seconds
    1140: Fish, Serpent, Egg, Scorpion by Kwame Dawes

    Today’s poem is Fish, Serpent, Egg, Scorpion by Kwame Dawes.


    The Slowdown is your daily poetry ritual. In this episode, Major writes… “Today’s poem highlights that cycle of hard truths and compassion passed between fathers and sons.”


    Celebrate the power of poems with a gift to The Slowdown today. Every donation makes a difference: https://tinyurl.com/rjm4synp

    14 June 2024, 8:00 am
  • 6 minutes 28 seconds
    1139: Dolly Would by Julie E. Bloemeke

    Today’s poem is Dolly Would by Julie E. Bloemeke.


    The Slowdown is your daily poetry ritual. In this episode, Major writes… “To build an image and reputation from dreams requires herculean efforts that often involve doubts, failures, and sacrifices, but as we hear in today’s poem, a devotedness to one’s art that transforms a passion into a stratospheric journey into the self. ”


    Celebrate the power of poems with a gift to The Slowdown today. Every donation makes a difference: https://tinyurl.com/rjm4synp

    13 June 2024, 8:00 am
  • 5 minutes 25 seconds
    1138: Orientation by Cindy Juyoung Ok

    Today’s poem is Orientation by Cindy Juyoung Ok.


    The Slowdown is your daily poetry ritual. In this episode, Major writes… “Every poem is a bridge between nature and us, in that what lies hidden, what is below, is somehow familiar, and brought to consciousness.”


    Celebrate the power of poems with a gift to The Slowdown today. Every donation makes a difference: https://tinyurl.com/rjm4synp

    12 June 2024, 8:00 am
  • 7 minutes 23 seconds
    1137: i have an irrational fear of spiders by Charlie Getter

    Today’s poem is i have an irrational fear of spiders by Charlie Getter.


    The Slowdown is your daily poetry ritual. In this episode, Major writes… “Today’s poem smartly interrogates the role of fears and how they might unreasonably control our lives.”


    Celebrate the power of poems with a gift to The Slowdown today. Every donation makes a difference: https://tinyurl.com/rjm4synp

    11 June 2024, 8:00 am
  • 5 minutes 32 seconds
    1136: Visible Light by Heidi Seaborn

    Today’s poem is Visible Light by Heidi Seaborn.


    The Slowdown is your daily poetry ritual. In this episode, Major writes… “As a child, on summer evenings, my friends and I ran through the neighborhood collecting lightning bugs. They were most visible in vacant lots, but we feared those dark places we sometimes entered. So, the hunt for them as ten-year-olds also felt like an adventure. We gently coaxed them into glass mason jars then sat on the stoop counting their lights to see who had the most. Their underbellies lit up and cast a glow onto our faces. Later, beneath a sheet in bed, I stared into the jar as the fireflies crawled the glass and emitted their light.”


    Celebrate the power of poems with a gift to The Slowdown today. Every donation makes a difference: https://tinyurl.com/rjm4synp

    10 June 2024, 8:00 am
  • 6 minutes 20 seconds
    1135: At the Rainbow Cattle Company by Bruce Snider

    Today’s poem is At the Rainbow Cattle Company by Bruce Snider.


    The Slowdown is your daily poetry ritual. In this episode, Major writes… “Today’s poem names the silent syncopated talk of the body that occurs when two people are in sync, in graceful movements, when they let each other lead.” Celebrate the power of poems with a gift to The Slowdown today. Every donation makes a difference: https://tinyurl.com/rjm4synp

    7 June 2024, 8:00 am
  • 6 minutes 4 seconds
    1134: Americans by Katie Peterson

    Today’s poem is Americans by Katie Peterson.


    The Slowdown is your daily poetry ritual. In this episode, Major writes… “Whenever I hear a person refer to people by their geographic or cultural or national association, I wince. In doing so, we falsely implicate everything from intelligence levels to physical appearances. This strikes me as crude, reductive, unintentionally demeaning.” Celebrate the power of poems with a gift to The Slowdown today. Every donation makes a difference: https://tinyurl.com/rjm4synp

    6 June 2024, 8:00 am
  • 5 minutes 29 seconds
    1133: The Alien by Greg Delanty

    Today’s poem is The Alien by Greg Delanty.


    The Slowdown is your daily poetry ritual. In this episode, Major writes… “However tight the team of parents, and family and community beyond that, supporting a child in utero, that baby is carried by one body alone. Their body is not only one of creation, of labor, of internal mystery, but one of a singular emotional gravity.”


    Celebrate the power of poems with a gift to The Slowdown today. Every donation makes a difference: https://tinyurl.com/rjm4synp

    5 June 2024, 8:00 am
  • 5 minutes 32 seconds
    1132: Felonious States of Adjectival Excess Featuring Comparative and Superlative Forms by A. H. Jerriod Avant

    Today’s poem is Felonious States of Adjectival Excess Featuring Comparative and Superlative Forms by A. H. Jerriod Avant.


    The Slowdown is your daily poetry ritual. In this episode, Major writes… “I am drawn to poets who, like the author of today’s poem, bring imagination and attention to sonic idioms of a poem. They make reading aloud fun.” Celebrate the power of poems with a gift to The Slowdown today. Every donation makes a difference: https://tinyurl.com/rjm4synp

    4 June 2024, 8:00 am
  • 5 minutes 58 seconds
    1131: How It Will End by Denise Duhamel

    Today’s poem is How It Will End by Denise Duhamel.


    The Slowdown is your daily poetry ritual. In this episode, Major writes… “Today’s poem illustrates how difficult it is to plot the fate of a couple, especially one whose ups and downs are played out publicly.”


    Celebrate the power of poems with a gift to The Slowdown today. Every donation makes a difference: https://tinyurl.com/rjm4synp

    3 June 2024, 8:00 am
  • 7 minutes 7 seconds
    1130: Cy Twombly's Untitled (Say Goodbye Catullus, to the shores of Asia Minor) by Javier O. Huerta

    Today’s poem is Cy Twombly's Untitled (Say Goodbye Catullus, to the shores of Asia Minor) by Javier O. Huerta.


    The Slowdown is your daily poetry ritual. In this episode, Major writes… “This week’s episodes are a special feature on ekphrasis – poems which engage with works of art. Ekphrastic poetry sometimes pushes back against the idea of simple art made complicated in idea, born from an eccentric personality. Inspired by another famous Twombly painting, one that itself is inspired partly by a poem, today’s poem realizes the frenetic sense of the artist’s canvas is a conceptual product of a sophisticated and sometimes frustrating mind.” Celebrate the power of poems with a gift to The Slowdown today. Every donation makes a difference: https://tinyurl.com/rjm4synp

    31 May 2024, 8:00 am
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