Listening to Someone Else Reading Your Poem

On another blog of mine, I post occasionally about what I am listening to in the podcast/online/radio world.  One daily podcast I enjoy is The Writer’s Almanac which has been on radio since 1993 and, sadly, it will be ending after May 2022. It ran on public radio through 2017 and those episodes are archived online. Later, the show was available as a podcast and online on the Garrison Keillor’s website.

Garrison Keillor

I had listened to Garrison Keillor starting in 1974 on his radio show A Prairie Home Companion. I loved that voice and his ad-libbed weekly stories of the fictional town of Lake Wobegon.  I went on to read his short stories and novels. You can label him an author, storyteller, humorist, voice actor, and radio personality. He hosted that show through 2016 when he retired and passed the reins over to others.

I was lucky to have four of my poems featured on the Almanac and read by Keillor. I really enjoy hearing other people read my poems and that is not something I get to experience very often. It is interesting to hear the little spins and turns that someone else will take with your words.

I am posting links to those poems here – even though they are not my usual ronka poems. You can read the poems online, but I strongly recommend that you listen to him read the poems. The poems are at the end of the program, so you could fast-forward through the news, but I enjoy the almanac news about the day as much, sometimes even more, as the poem.

This photo shows the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, New Jersey. This Gothic beauty was the original setting and inspiration for my poem, “Shame.”

The Alamanac program featured two of my serious poems – “The Light We Leave Behind,”- and “Shame, They also selected two poems that have the tongue at least partially in the cheek . The first is “Who Shows Up at My Poetry Reading” and the second is titled “Somewhat Optimistic Horoscopes.” I was also asked to record a video of myself reading some of those poems for their YouTube channel.

“Who Shows Up at My Poetry Reading” portrays the kinds of people I actually have had show up at poetry readings. The poem often gets laughs when I read it, though fellow poets may be more likely to just nod in recognition.

My poem, “Somewhat Optimistic Horoscopes,” came from reading my horoscope online. Those short-form horoscopes tend to be pretty positive, though you might get a cautionary prediction once in a while. What I thought was missing were ones that were somewhere in-between.

The Voices

Poems are said to have a voice. I found one definition that says that voice, simply put, is the person behind the words that speaks to the audience. The literal voice is, of course, the person reading or reciting the words, but that is not what poets really think about when they discuss voice.

Voice is made up of many poetic elements such as tone, imagery, rhythm, diction, punctuation, and more. These things work together to give a unique color and expression to our words. Voice builds an overall style or point of view of the poet. We can think of it as the voice inside the reader’s head. It is the voice that is heard even if the words are on paper or a screen.

For podcasts, a poem has a literal voice. We can use a synthetic voice to record a podcast version of the website post. For example, this post is being read by the voice of Remy.

Yesterday, I posted four poems from this site using the synthetic voice of Cassidy. Those posts are each just a poem. That is 35 words. They are not really meant for podcasting. 35 words will clock in at less than a minute each. That is not exactly what people expect for a podcast, but when I started this project back in 2014, a podcast version of the poems was not part of the plan.

I do plan to record some of the older poems that seem to have attracted the most attention over the past nine years. I’ll record them in my own voice – that is, Ken will record them. And he will probably add some background about the poem as he has been doing lately which will increase the length of the podcast a bit. Perhaps up to a few minutes in length.

(It is strange to write this post in a kind of third person, but if the “I” is Remy reading, rather than Ken reading, it needs to be that way.)

Will the “I” be Remy or Ken in future podcasts?  I think it will be Ken’s voice. But there may still be a place for Remy and Cassidy along the way.

The photo used to illustrate this post is by George Milton and is available on

Podcast Note

I have been delinquent in my recording of poems from this site for the podcast version of Writing the Day.

I am recording several of the new poems today and I will release one each day for the next week or so.

I sometimes feel like I’m sending these out into the deepest corners of the universe but no one hears them. But then I look at the analytics for the podcasts and see the countries that have listened and the platforms they used to listen and I realize there is someone out there hearing them.


Contries Accessing the Podcast



Platforms Used


If you have listened and have any comments or suggestions, you can put them on this post.

Podcasts Season 2

I started doing a podcast last year of the new poems on this site. I thought there might be some interest in listening to the poems and occasional additional information. Podcasts are very popular (again – it’s a kind of revival)

These episodes are very short. Some are under a minute. A few are a few minutes in length when there is some explanation I want to include. Would those short lengths make a podcast more or less popular? I suspect it is the latter. People seem to love long podcasts, particularly ones about true crime.

There is none of that on WRITING THE DAY, so who would be the audience? I suppose readers of the blog and maybe people who like to binge because you can consume the entire Season 1 with its 22 episodes in less than a lunch break.

I am way behind on doing these audio versions of the ronka poems, but I have resolved to improve and plan to queue up ones for the rest of the month with at least one per day. If I can catch up with myself, then I’ll go back into the archive and do some of the more popular ones too.

They are available for you on a number of platforms. So far Spotify has been the most popular option, but you can also find them on Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts, and RadioPublic.

I hope you check them out.

Photo by Anna Tarazevich on


The haiku I would write for you
were illustrated with my sketches, watercolors or
Japanese prints I found in magazines or
postcards from that used bookstore that we
would browse, buy poetry, and read aloud.




I thought of you as my muse.
Eastern and yet so Western. Younger but
also older than me in some ways.
The poem you left on the bed 
with an erotic print which I misinterpreted.



Your side of the bed
was still warm, then cold all morning,
afternoon, night, like the Moon


Looking at the old photo of you
taking a photo of me hasn’t faded
though we separated five hundred Moons ago.
Thinking of you with each daylily bloom.
Flowering, falling, returning anew and yet old.

Writing the Day Podcast

This month I started doing some short podcasts of some of the recent poems on this site.

I don’t know if there will be any interest in hearing the poems but I’ll give it a few months. It’s not a very difficult process using Anchor and they are available for you on Spotify.

I am adding some other podcast services and so Writing the Day is also available on Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts, and RadioPublic.

I hope you check them out. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. If the podcasts acquire a bit of an audience, I have lots of archived poems that I might add.


podcast mic

Image by Csaba Nagy from Pixabay