The Writer’s Almanac – Podcast Review

The Writer’s Almanac is one of my favorite podcasts. It’s a short one, usually lasting somewhere around five minutes.

Every day Garrison Keiller fills the listener in on literary and historical notes. The history may be about events that happened on this date in history, or about the reasons we celebrate certain holidays. The literary history is often interesting facts about authors, where they grew up, former jobs, inspiration, and awards their works have won. Usually it is about authors born on this date.

After the brief historical notes, Garrison Keiller reads a poem or two. It’s such a treat to be read to. The poems may be contemporary, or eighteenth century. You never know what to expect. But always, the poems are interesting, sometimes inspiring, sometimes sad, sometimes thought provoking. Which I suppose is what poetry is supposed to be. Our culture doesn’t pay a lot of attention to poets. I think it’s great that every day wonderful poetry is broadcast for our listening pleasure and edification.

For teachers and homeschoolers the history can be a great source of mini-lessons and discussions. For the rest of us it can provide interesting conversation or blog topics. And besides, it’s just nice to pause for a few minutes and listen to great writing and learn something, too.

Today’s Almanac covered the history of Labor Day and told listeners the interesting fact that 11 million American workers spend sixty hours or more at work each week. Last week, Keillor read poems from Rita Dove, Alice N. Persons, and Louis Jenkins. He talked about the work and life of Mother Teresa, how the Roman empire came to an end, the reaction of local journalists when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, possible inspiration for Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and Japan’s World War II surrender.

Garrison Keillor is probably best known as the host of the radio show, A Prairie Home Companion. He’s also an author, musician, and humorist.

Give the Writer’s Almanac a try. It might become one of your favorites, too.

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