Studio: American Public Media
What It Is
A round-up of literary trivia related to the date of the broadcast with a short poem to close things out, read by the always unique story-teller Garrison Keillor.
Each episode comes in at around five minutes in length. A new episode drops every day, including weekends and holidays. The archive is scanty; the official site and iTunes only keep episodes up for ten days or so. This one is still a public radio staple. Check your local station at around the top of the hour, when a five minute show can be squeezed in right after the news, if you’re in the mood to be retro about it.
What About It
Even at just five minutes, this isn’t the shortest podcast we’ll be talking about here. It’s probably the best short podcast, however; call it the best podcast under ten minutes. Yes, I’m a literature nut, which biases me in favor of the show, but so what? The subjective is where we live, right? I’ve never been the hugest fan of Keillor as a writer, but his offbeat, warm delivery is perfect for this calming breath of fresh air in the middle of your busy day. The quiet piano theme song all by itself relaxes me; I’ve grown accustomed to it signaling a few brief minutes of intelligent, often witty calm. It’s impossible to be stressed while listening to Keillor give a thumbnail sketch of the life of John Newton or talk about the publication of Hemingway’s first short story or detail a meeting between two great artistic minds. And then there’s the poem; the show always has time to close with a brief poem, read in Keillor’s inimitable style. These range from modern poets to ancient works; you’re as apt to hear a poem published yesterday as a poem by Shelley or an old hymn. And then Keillor signs off with the podcast’s signature: “Be well, do good work and keep in touch.” It feels like the perfect benediction. This podcast is simply wonderful. In the interest of brevity, which seems appropriate when talking about this podcast, enough said.
You love poetry, but can’t find a way to integrate it into your life as much as you’d like.
Avoid Like the Plague If
You prefer trivia about the Kardashians as opposed to Virginia Woolf.
Best Entry Point
Well, it’s been on air since 1993, but has an archive that only goes back a week or so. Easiest thing to do is subscribe; you’ll get the most recent one and, every day, a new nugget of comfort.
Next time, we’ll start getting into 5by5, an interesting podcasting network. We’ll be hearing more from them later as well, but next time I’ll tell you about their best show.