The Slowdown: Poetry & Reflection Daily

The Slowdown: Poetry & Reflection Daily

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.

Episodes

February 23, 2024 6 mins

Today’s poem is Portable Paradise by Roger Robinson.


The Slowdown is your daily poetry ritual. We’re taking a break this week, so we’re running some of our favorite episodes from this season so far. This episode was originally released on 11/10/2023.


In this episode, Major writes… “As so much poetry reminds us, suffering is at the core of being human. Yes, we fumble along. We live a melancholic existence. Some of...

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Today’s poem is Kinds of Silence by Elisabeth Murawski.


The Slowdown is your daily poetry ritual. We’re taking a break this week, so we’re running some of our favorite episodes from this season so far. This episode was originally released on 11/28/2023.


In this episode, Major writes… “Today’s poem captures that feeling of expectancy and uncertainty, a feeling that resonates lately, as I find myself wondering about...

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Today’s poem is A Funeral Ending with Beyoncé by Karisma Price.


The Slowdown is your daily poetry ritual. We’re taking a break this week, so we’re running some of our favorite episodes from this season so far. This episode was originally released on 07/18/2023.


In this episode, Major writes… “When speaking about the dead, my uncle makes sure to hit his fisted hand on any object that looks grainy and some shade of ...

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February 20, 2024 5 mins

Today’s poem is Feeding the Koi by Rosanna Young Oh.


The Slowdown is your daily poetry ritual. We’re taking a break this week, so we’re running some of our favorite episodes from this season so far. This episode was originally released on 11/02/2023.


In this episode, Major writes… “Today’s poem exemplifies those moments when sometimes we cannot speak or act on our truth because of debilitating fears. And on occasi...

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February 19, 2024 6 mins

Today’s poem is this is a library by Asiya Wadud.


The Slowdown is your daily poetry ritual. We’re taking a break this week, so we’re running some of our favorite episodes from this season so far. This episode was originally released on 07/26/2023.


In this episode, Major writes… “Today’s empathetic poem, which takes the tone of an elementary school primer, encourages a greater noticing of those who are leastwise am...

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February 16, 2024 6 mins

Today’s poem is Love Poem, with Birds by Barbara Kingsolver.


The Slowdown is your daily poetry ritual. This week, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re revisiting some of our favorite episodes on love. This episode was originally released on September 15, 2023.


In this episode, Major writes… “Today’s poem gives voice to the intimidating feeling of competing with a partner’s personal passion. However begrudgingly we c...

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February 15, 2024 5 mins

Today’s poem is Love Sits by My Father by Qutouf Elobaid.


The Slowdown is your daily poetry ritual. This week, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re revisiting some of our favorite episodes on love. This episode was originally released on August 31, 2023.


In this episode, Major writes… “People in love are complicated; no one knows this more than the children, who get a front row seat to how affection plays itself out...

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February 14, 2024 6 mins

Today’s poem is Short Essay on Love by Sarah Manguso.


The Slowdown is your daily poetry ritual. This week, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re revisiting some of our favorite episodes on love. This episode was originally released on February 6, 2023.


In this episode, Major writes… “Today’s poem understands to the core that love requires, even anticipates failure. But maybe, even too, that a commitment to finding ha...

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February 13, 2024 5 mins

Today’s poem is Without Name by Pauli Murray.


The Slowdown is your daily poetry ritual. This week, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re revisiting some of our favorite episodes on love. This episode was originally released on November 21, 2023.


In this episode, Major writes… “Today, words lead me to pockets of understanding, which I've carefully cultivated through writing poetry. The journey to insights and thos...

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February 12, 2024 5 mins

Today’s poem is Love and the Deli Counter by Jill McDonough.


The Slowdown is your daily poetry ritual. This week, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re revisiting some of our favorite episodes on love. This episode was originally released on July 10, 2023.


In this episode, Major writes… “I love the spaces we enter, in which we feel a rich sense of our differences, of our collective humanity, and a lightness of being....

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February 9, 2024 6 mins

Today’s poem is Perhaps by Wen Yiduo, translated by Arthur Sze.


The Slowdown is your daily poetry ritual. In this episode, Major writes… “Today’s poem takes me to the ancient grounds of the imagination, and a cultivated wonder that brings us closer to its magic and possibility.”


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

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February 8, 2024 5 mins

Today’s poem is Love and the Moon by Nan Cohen.


The Slowdown is your daily poetry ritual. In this episode, Major writes… “Sometimes, every which way we turn, the world reminds us that we carry a wounded heart. Love is beautiful until it is not, and then we are handed a chainmail of armor along with our insecurities. When we stumble out of those woods, we bring along burrs and nettles, but also, too, faded reminiscence...

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February 7, 2024 5 mins

Today’s poem is The Dangers of Contemplation by Ron Slate.


The Slowdown is your daily poetry ritual. In this episode, Major writes… “Every poem is a map, a transcription of a contemplative and roaming mind. I am curious about the images that arise out of the poet’s subconscious and the associative thoughts that follow. I particularly delight in the poet whose brain works at scale, a mind that soars from the granular l...

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February 6, 2024 5 mins

Today’s poem is Facebook Status by Adrian Blevins.


The Slowdown is your daily poetry ritual. In this episode, Major writes… “It is human to be curious about each other’s lives, to celebrate our friends’ wins and mourn, along with them, their losses. To acknowledge our inevitable changes. Today’s poem hilariously explains why our internet connections are like electrical wires that thread the night, connecting all of ou...

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February 5, 2024 5 mins

Today’s poem is Ghazal for Mothers & Tongues by Sahar Muradi.


The Slowdown is your daily poetry ritual. In this episode, Major writes… “Today’s fine poem is gorgeous for many reasons, but one is the way the poet enriches our ears with the sounds of words. Poems that are designed like today’s poem turn language into more than just a tool of communication — and into a ceremonial and opulent form of human address.”

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February 2, 2024 6 mins

Today’s poem is Dancing at The Get Down by Cat Wei.


The Slowdown is your daily poetry ritual. In this episode, Major writes… “Recently, my seventy-three-year-old father called to tell me how much fun he had at a local dance club. I was envious. He used to swim daily, but after health challenges, getting on the dancefloor, beneath swirling lights among deep shadows, is his preferred workout. Physical benefits aside, I ...

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February 1, 2024 6 mins

Today’s poem is Hunger by Ryler Dustin.


The Slowdown is your daily poetry ritual. In this episode, Major writes… “Today’s poem reveals how our appetites take us beyond considerations of the earth and its resources. What we leave in our wake is a record of our cravings and our misguided sense of a limitless world.”


Celebrate the power of poems with a gift to The Slowdown today. Every donation makes a difference: h...

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Today’s poem is Why Write Love Poetry in a Burning World by Katie Farris.


The Slowdown is your daily poetry ritual. In this episode, Major writes… “Art is unequivocal evidence of our sanctity, of our ability to feel, to go beyond forbidden precincts into the depth of our emotions. I wish we would put a moratorium on questions of relevance of the arts and realize the gift of beauty that artists grant. One need not list...

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January 30, 2024 6 mins

Today’s poem is Body's Ken by Simon West.


The Slowdown is your daily poetry ritual. In this episode, Major writes… “Poets thrive in that energy between knowing and not knowing. They attempt to convey a sense of awakening by marking language and their experiences and thoughts as memorable, as sacred, while honoring the conditions that urged them into song.”


Celebrate the power of poems with a gift to The Slowd...

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January 29, 2024 5 mins

Today’s poem is Venus's Flytraps by Yusef Komunyakaa.


The Slowdown is your daily poetry ritual. In this episode, Major writes… “Some poems have a hold on us, their lines haunt, like the chorus from a favorite song. They cling to the mind like burrs. I’ve said them to myself lying motionless in bed at night, and while tying my shoes in the morning. They keep giving; they console when I need them to and anchor me in...

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