Versify | Nashville Public Radio



Versify is a show where a person tells a story, and in a matter of minutes, that story becomes a poem.

In each episode we guide listeners through this journey. It can surprise or make you cry — and it proves that your life experiences are worthy of poetry.

Versify is a production of Nashville Public Radio, The Porch writers' collective and PRX, with funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. 

Versify #13: The Thread Stretched Between Us

Mar 8, 2018

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.

Versify #12: A Hurricane, A Wedding, And A Flood

Feb 22, 2018
courtesy Betty and Raul Malo

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. 

Versify #11: The Blood Tie

Feb 8, 2018
courtesty Emily Tan

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 as well be on the other side of the world.

Versify #10: Learning To Fight

Dec 15, 2017

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.


Versify #9: The Crash, The Rock, It Sings

Nov 16, 2017

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.

Versify #8: Sometimes It's The Simple Things

Nov 2, 2017

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.

Versify #7: It Wasn't The Fun Way

Oct 19, 2017
Courtesy Ben Groner

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.

Versify #6: People Will Surprise You

Oct 5, 2017

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. 

Versify #5: Don’t Try This at Home

Sep 21, 2017

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.


Tasha Lemley

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.