When I was an English major at Calvin University, I truly enjoyed my writing and literature classes. But there was one area of study which always frustrated me: poetry. Despite my best attempts, I just couldn’t grasp that particular medium. Analyzing poems came to be a struggle for me, and I never could write a decent poem myself.
Perhaps for these reasons, I’ve come to appreciate The Daily Poem Podcast from Goldberry Studios. Since summer 2018, the show has offered brief episodes that each feature a specific poem. The poems are read aloud by David Kern and other contributors with some light commentary included. For me, this audio anthology has been an easily accessible way to engage with poetry.
From William Shakespeare to Robert Frost to Langston Hughes, this podcast highlights several key poets and their works. The commentary in each episode usually provides some context for the poet and the poem’s form and language. While the podcast seems to focus on iconic poets from previous eras, contemporary poets are featured occasionally.
One thing that’s easy to appreciate about this podcast is the way Kern narrates the poems. His ability to alter his pace and tone—speaking whimsically for some of Lewis Caroll’s works or almost whispering for Dickinson’s “I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died”—is engaging and refreshing. Yet the beauty of this comes through Kern’s grace-filled approach with his own interpretation. “I’m just reading them how it feels like the language is being presented,” Kern said in the podcast’s trailer, adding, “I’m just trying to follow the rhythms of the language.” Maybe that’s what has been missing in my own study of poetry: some grace for myself and my abilities.
The Daily Poem Podcast is hosted on Acast and is also available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and other platforms.