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Episodes

21: Saturn Returns By I-40 West

7/13/2018
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After leaving suburban Tennessee for a career in Hollywood when he was just 18, Brad Wear became, in a lot of ways, the picture of LA success. But twenty years later, Brad was struck with a feeling of absence, of being fully out of touch — with himself and his family, from whom he'd been estranged. Brad tells the story about his journey to reconnect and the cost of finding home again to poet Chance Chambers, who takes what he hears and composes an original poem. Versify is a production of...

Duration:00:24:13

20: Mercy At The Ryman

6/21/2018
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For singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier, coming to country music in her 40s was one of many things that made her feel like an industry outsider. Today, Mary speaks with poet Destiny Birdsong about her unconventional entry into the music business, and how an unforgettable performance at the Ryman redefined Mary’s relationship to her music — and to herself. Destiny takes the high notes of their conversation and composes an original poem. Versify is a production of Nashville Public Radio and The...

Duration:00:17:19

19: Thank God For That Judge

6/7/2018
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Being in love often requires making sacrifices, but for Helen German, the sacrifice was a big one: Finding romance meant losing the approval of her family. Today, Helen relates the details of her life story, from surviving the air raids of World War II to sustaining a 65 year marriage, while managing to hold on to her beliefs. Helen shares her story to poet Bryan Byrdlong, who turns her lifetime of perseverance into poetry.

Duration:00:18:56

18: Never Forget Your Name, Lyzette

5/17/2018
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For Lyzette Garza, learning to embrace her Mexican-American heritage has been a lifelong journey. Lyzette speaks with poet Kelley Bell about her formative childhood moments: hearing stories from her dad under the stars, encountering prejudice on a family trip to Colorado, and how those experiences — along with her father’s enduring love of boots — have helped shape Lyzette’s perspective on her culture. And Kelley takes Lyzette’s account and turns it into poetry. Versify is a production of...

Duration:00:18:16

17: Ending The Game With Sunset

5/3/2018
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For most people, living with your parents past your early 20s isn’t something to make a point of bringing up in public. But Paresh Sheth says that living with his mom and dad in a three generation household has deepened his understanding of commitment — especially now that his mother is in the hospital. Paresh shares his story of witnessing the evolution of his parent’s relationship to poet Alicia Marie Brandewie, who takes their struggle, love and change and turns it into poetry.

Duration:00:17:16

16: Acknowledgment of Paternity for a Child Born to an Unmarried Woman

4/20/2018
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Amelia and Mark share the story of their intense uncertainty about having their first child, Silas — but the surprising joy of his first year. As 30-something New Yorkers transplanted to Nashville, they’re more ironic than emotive in telling this tale, but their words resonate with poet Susannah Felts, who weaves a detail-laden poem to crystallize the family’s first year.

Duration:00:18:44

15: How They Met

4/5/2018
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When our poets ask people to share an important story from their lives, they often like to tell us about how they met their partners. And though she admits it’s a bit cliché...Marcia Barker shares the story of an unlikely first encounter with a handsome stranger named Brent, and a resulting romance full of jetsetting, serendipity and suspicion.

Duration:00:24:23

14: Insider's Guide To Prayer

3/22/2018
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When Mark Lemley was 17, he had a near-death experience that fundamentally altered his outlook on life: a car accident that has haunted him for 24 years, and he wasn't even the one in the car. Today we'll hear the story of Mark's relationship with his childhood best friend Ryan — and how Ryan's brush with death forced Mark to reevaluate his beliefs. Mark tells his story to poet Megan Leanne, who takes his complicated history and turns it into poetry. Versify is a production of Nashville...

Duration:00:20:36

13: The Thread Stretched Between Us

3/8/2018
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They say you should never go into business with family — but for Craig Fernandes, starting a patriotic clothing company with his son Brady has actually brought the two of them closer together. Craig speaks to poet Kelley Bell about how experiencing a mid-career layoff helped him get to know his son better, at a point in life where most parents and their children grow apart.

Duration:00:18:36

12: A Hurricane, A Wedding, And A Flood

2/22/2018
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For Betty and Raul Malo, lead singer of country band the Mavericks, their romantic life has been punctuated by a series of severe storms. August of '92: Hurricane Andrew throttled the Florida coastline, destroying Betty's home just months before their wedding. So she and Raul eloped instead and moved to Nashville. But then, May of 2010: A 1,000-year flood devastated the city. In this episode, we’ll hear from Betty about the couple's struggles over 25 years of marriage and learn why their...

Duration:00:21:19

11: The Blood Tie

2/8/2018
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Emily Tan comes from generations of immigrants and refugees; and she’s traveled the globe in pursuit of a family history fragmented by war. In this episode, Emily speaks with poet Destiny Birdsong about her journey to reconnect with relatives both past and present. You’ll hear about Emily’s experiences abroad, her mother’s ongoing search for the siblings she lost while fleeing Cambodia, and Emily’s own search for a relationship with her older brother, who lives in the same city but might...

Duration:00:20:11

Coming Soon: Versify, Season 2

2/5/2018
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In our second season of Versify, we bring you moments of impact: those times when our storytellers’ lives were changed forever. Decisive moments, pivotal shifts, and even brushes with death. You’ll hear moving personal stories, and also how our writers turn what they hear into poetry. Season 2 launches Feb. 8 Music in this trailer by Yuichiro Fujimoto and the Salakapakka Sound System.

Duration:00:03:02

10: Learning To Fight

12/15/2017
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In creating Versify, we’ve realized the power of listening to people's stories and sharing them as poetry. To close out our first season, we’re gonna take you through some of the first poems and conversations that inspired us to make this show. And you’ll journey with us as we explore what it truly means — for our participants and our poets — to feel heard. * *Credits: Versify is a production of Nashville Public Radio and The Porch writers’ collective, which trains our poets and hosts...

Duration:00:18:19

9: The Crash, The Rock, It Sings

11/16/2017
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For Nashville Councilwoman Nancy VanReece, her passion for public service began with an act of intimidation. It was 1968 — and she was 4 — when someone threw a rock through the window of her family home. It was the day after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and her father, a dentist, had lowered the flag on their porch to half-staff. VanReece, who has since become the first openly out lesbian elected to a legislative body in Tennessee, shares the pivotal childhood...

Duration:00:17:51

8: Sometimes It's The Simple Things

11/2/2017
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For Eloise Briscoe, raising two daughters hasn’t been about splashy gestures, but more “the simple things” — an approach gleaned from the long line of women in her family. As the unofficial family historian, Eloise is a diligent keeper of memories, and today she challenges poet J. Joseph Kane to honor all of these women — Emma, Nana, Margaret, Eloise, Shannon, and Maura — with a poetic gift that she intends to share with her aging 92-year-old mother. As a bonus, we also hear a...

Duration:00:23:56

7: It Wasn't The Fun Way

10/19/2017
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More than most people, Ben Groner feels pretty lucky to be alive — and that’s because his life is the result of some pretty remarkable choices. In this episode, Ben tells poet Megan Smith about his parents’ unlikely love story, how he and his twin brother came to be, and about a secret that could have kept the two of them from ever coming into existence. **Credits: This episode of Versify was hosted and produced by Joshua Moore, a poet with The Porch, Nashville’s nonprofit literary...

Duration:00:19:52

6: People Will Surprise You

10/5/2017
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Ask anyone about their neighbors and they’ll likely have a strong opinion to share. This week, Versify’s team of poets sit down with strangers to hear stories about neighbors and neighborhoods. They discover unusual recollections and moments of camaraderie — and then turn those memories into original poems. * * Credits: Versify is hosted by Joshua Moore, a poet with The Porch, Nashville’s nonprofit literary center. The show is edited and produced by WPLN’s Tony Gonzalez, with additional...

Duration:00:17:13

5: Don’t Try This at Home

9/21/2017
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Ambushed by a menacing dog, Nashville physics teacher (and standup comedian) Bob Clark taps into some unconventional wisdom in his attempt to flee. Bob slyly reveals his story to poet Destiny Birdsong. She’s caught off guard, but weaves the compelling tale into an original poem about physics, relationships, and survival. Credits: Versify is hosted and co-produced by Joshua Moore, a poet with The Porch, Nashville’s nonprofit literary center. The show is edited and produced by WPLN’s Tony...

Duration:00:20:22

4: It Is Not What Is Written On Your Tombstone

9/7/2017
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For much of her life, Ali Russell has been uncertain about religion. Even as a little girl, she’d ask her parents, “How do we know we’re worshiping the right God?” She even had a Jesus dream that still lingers with her today. In this episode, Ali shares her story to her longtime friend and Nashville poet Dana Malone, who takes Ali’s religious odyssey and transforms it into poetry. The story and poem from this episode were recorded by field producer Tasha French Lemley at Casa Azafran in...

Duration:00:25:59

3: Bone Deep

8/23/2017
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Serg Rodriguez hasn’t seen his family in years. He was excommunicated by their church and grew apart from his parents and siblings. But now as a writer in Nashville, his little sister is never far from his mind. Without warning, she troubles his thoughts and finds here way into everything he puts on paper. In this episode, we find out how family rejection has actually helped Serg to better understand unconditional love. And then Nashville poet Ciona Rouse turns Serg’s story into an...

Duration:00:24:20