Since many of us are American Public Media fans, it behooves us here at Women’s Voices for Change to speak of our abiding love of its “Writer’s Almanac,” which presents poetry (along with thoughts about someone born on the broadcast’s date) every morning. Long helmed by Garrison Keillor, “The Writer’s Almanac” has been home to former Poet Laureate and full-time heartthrob Billy Collins this summer. It is possible to be stopped in one’s floor-sweeping tracks, make-up ritual, commute, or any other quotidian task by the sounds of the truth in verse—just by having your radio or computer radio feature turned on.
There are days when listening can fill you with a longing for the admirations that came your way a long time ago:
Twenty-odd years have turned to air;
Now she’s the girl I didn’t dare
Approach, ask out, much less declare
My love to, mired in young despair.
— “A Monorhyme for the Shower,” by Dick Davis
And there are days when you reflect on the state of your current life:
Talking in bed ought to be easiest
Lying together there goes back so far,
An emblem of two people being honest.
—“Talking in Bed,” by Philip Larkin
Sometimes, the show haunts you with a view of the road not traveled . . .
Walking in the breakdown lane, margin of gravel,
between the cut swaths and the road to Fargo,
I want to stop, to lie down
in standing wheat or standing water.
—“ Walking in the Breakdown Lane,” by Louise Erdrich
. . . or the pleasures of the lives so many of us share.
There is joy
in the hair I brush each morning,
in the Cannon towel, newly washed,
that I rub my body with each morning,
in the chapel of eggs I cook
— “Welcome Morning,” by Anne Sexton
“The Writer’s Almanac” is a visit by what poetry does. In the words of Robert Frost, “Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.” Let’s all remind ourselves that poetry is for every single day and every time of day, and “The Writer’s Almanac” is one way it enters our lives with style and grace.