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Dear Poetry  By  cover art

Dear Poetry

By: Luisa Beck
Narrated by: Luisa Beck,Cheryl Strayed,Camille Dungy,Chen Chen,John Paul Brammer,Luther Hughes,full cast
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Episodes
  • Jun 23 2022

    When you’re struck with a difficult emotion, like loneliness, anxiety, or heartbreak, sometimes the best remedy isn’t a pill or herbal potion, but poetry. Poems can reveal something you hadn’t seen, expose a lingering feeling, or crystallize something you needed reminding of. 

    In this audio series, listeners will send in their problems and well-known guest poets will prescribe their favorite lyrical remedy. Problems can be anything -- from wanting to escape to an island free of Coronavirus, roommates or squealing kids; to having to go to work (or not having work) and facing down the risks; or really just any sundry problem that we face as humans. In each episode, the guest will listen to the situation. In response, they'll read a poem that they (or someone they admire) has written, and talk about what it’s meant to them during turbulent times. Sometimes their lyrical remedy will offer advice, or comfort, or just a nudge for getting unstuck.

    Our host is Luisa Beck, a Washington Post reporter who observes the news all over the world, but who turns to poetry for answers to some of life's most difficult questions. They're questions we all ask, but that even the most unbiased facts and well-researched articles can't answer. In each episode, she presents the ailment of the listener who’s written to her and asks her guest poet questions about what they recommend. She also introduces the guest's work, and talks to them about how they came to love poetry, and what the poem they chose means to them personally.

    This project is presented solely for entertainment purposes. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a physician, professional coach, psychotherapist, or other qualified professional. 

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    2 mins
  • Jul 6 2022
    A caller wants to reconnect with her father, who struggles with alcoholism and Alzheimer's disease. Poet Jane Flett responds with “Bottom of the Ocean” by Bob Hicok. The poem in this episode appears courtesy of University of Pittsburgh Press.
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    20 mins
  • Jul 7 2022

    This episode contains content best suited for adults.

    A caller is looking for TRUE love, but can’t seem to find it. Poet Luther Hughes responds with ‘Judith Slaying Holofernes: Oil on Canvas, Artemisia Gentileschi, 1620’ by Paul Tran.

    The poem in this episode appears courtesy of Paul Tran.

    The song ‘Mercenary Heart’ appears courtesy of Soltero (aka Tim Howard).

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    30 mins

About the Creator and Performer

Luisa Beck is a writer, reporter, and producer based out of Berlin, Germany. By day, she makes audio stories and covers the news. By night, she dabbles in fiction, music, and roller skating on the runways of Berlin’s Tempelhof airport.
She’s a former reporter for The Washington Post, where she covered a wide range of topics – from Germany’s history of colonialism and racism to its climate science and peculiar language. Before joining The Post, Luisa produced stories for The Center for Investigative Reporting’s flagship radio show Reveal, as well as popular storytelling shows like Rough Translation ( NPR), Snap Judgment (PRX), and 99% Invisible (SiriusXM).
Luisa observes the news all over the world, but turns to poetry for answers to life's most difficult questions. They're questions we all ask, but even the most unbiased facts and well-researched articles can't answer.
The show was inspired by a book that was gifted to Luisa by her godfather – a former dissident in communist East Germany – which was a book of poems sorted by ailments. It’s called Erich Kästner’s Lyrical Apothecary and was written by the German satirist and poet Erich Kästner in the 1930s. In it, he prescribes ‘lyrical medicine’ for common ailments like ‘feeling broke’, ‘friend envy’, and more. At the height of Covid, when Beck was feeling burnt out by doom scrolling, she found poems that offered moments of laughter, crying, and bits of respite from the state of the world. She’s been hooked on the book ever since, and on poems as guides for life’s questions and dilemmas (big and small).

What listeners say about Dear Poetry

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A balm for the soul

This podcast is exactly what the world needs right now. It's a chance to breathe amid the chaos, an invitation to reflect and to reexamine. The choice of poets and poetry is inspired, and the warmth, wisdom, empathy and humor of the host, Luisa Beck, shines through. An uplifting listen if there ever was one.

6 people found this helpful

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Quality content all around

I have only heard episode one, but I am excited to hear more. The idea of a random stranger revealing such a personal vulnerable part of themselves is fascinating enough, but when a person-poet can speak to that vulnerability with a poem of their choice- the connection goes deep. So, I love the concept, and the professional production of every part of this delightful and meaningful show. Only slight improvement would be to slow down the pace a slight bit so I can better digest the words- there is so much to ponder here, Thanks for creating such a meaningful podcast.

6 people found this helpful

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Lovely way to bring poetry into your life even if you’re not a die hard poetry fan!

So far I’m really enjoying this podcast. It features very relatable dilemmas and the responses from poets have been very interesting, nuanced and surprising. These poems give the listener a lot to think about and feel. It’s a great show to listen to on a trip and discuss afterwards!

5 people found this helpful

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Very entertaining, professional production

Very happy to have stumbled across NPR's interview with Luisa Beck, which led me here. A great idea, implemented to perfection. Hats off to all involved, looking forward to season 2!

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Wow this was so interesting

Really intriguing because the narrator’s flesh out a personal response to a universal source of pain in such a creative way- they really listened to the caller and helped expand one aspect of her expression rather than shutting her down with solutions. Cathartic wise and I learned something:)!

5 people found this helpful

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Powerful message

I loved the author’s choice of the poem in response to the caller’s dilemma as a “guiding light for their own self worth”. Do not hide but stay in your own true nature ("be that bitch"). Listening to the podcast I felt like I was taken on an educational journey and exploration of art expressed in paintings and poetry.

4 people found this helpful

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If medicine came in poems

I swear, this podcast is healing. Getting to hear from real people dealing with an ill parent or loneliness or just which color to paint their room… then instead of advice, to hear poems that are so surprising and tender and bold. I find myself remembering lines from the poems or even the callers throughout the day. Like a “you’re not alone, hold onto this” dose of beauty. I love this and can’t wait for more episodes!

3 people found this helpful

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A new kind of advice show

It's like they read my mind. If only there were more episodes! I didn't know everyone featured, which is also a joy for discovery.

3 people found this helpful

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Balm for the soul!

Oh goodness, this is just what the doctor ordered, a true remedy for life's daily woes, with a dash of sweetness and beauty. I found myself listening to the episodes multiple times, each time sinking into the poetry and interpretations on levels. I LOVE the host's voice and presence, so soothing and attuned. I love the variety of topics covered and the diverse voices and perspectives, and I so appreciated being introduced to new amazing poetry. In the moments when life has been feeling topsy turvy, this podcast has been a true balm for the soul.

2 people found this helpful

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Engaging Poetry with a Purpose

I've always wished I had an accessible way to read more poetry. I've never been able to read poetry collections for myself, mostly because I don't have anyone to discuss it with. This show does an amazing job of creating an engaging purpose for reading one poem at a time. I've listened to the first three episodes and they are great: thoughtful and worthwhile, a little irreverent while respecting the weight of the issues they confront.

Each episode begins with a sort of Dear Abby letter from a listener, and then the host asks a poet to respond with a poem (by anyone they choose) to address the listeners question. Each response has really landed with me. I'm really loving this.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kitty
  • 09-21-22

Such a pleasure!

Beautifully produced and presented. Can't recommend highly enough! Poetry chosen to address emotional issues and thoughtful discussions from the poems.

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  • James
  • 08-05-22

Wonderfully descriptive

Very moving and inspiring. The poem was descriptive. Resonates with me. I hope the caller found solace in this episode. I wish I heard this before I could no longer sit with someone at the bottom of the sea.