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 #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.

Versify #3: Bone Deep

Aug 24, 2017
Tony Gonzalez

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 original poem.

Versify #2: Why We Will Never Forget April 1994

Aug 24, 2017
Tony Gonzalez

Ebralie Mwizerwa is a mother of five, an accountant, a devoted church-goer — and a survivor of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. She fled with her family while pregnant and now runs a nonprofit that assists incoming refugee families in Nashville, Tennessee.

Ebralie shares the story of her harrowing escape to poet Destiny Birdsong, who takes up the challenge of crafting an original poem for Ebralie — “trying to figure out how to speak the unspeakable,” as Destiny says.

Versify #1: There's No Cure

Aug 24, 2017

Fred Bailey grew up blind on a farm in Gallatin, Tennessee — except he didn’t actually know he was blind at first.

Through a run in with a teacher, a visit to a doctor, and a confrontation with his father, he learned how to find strength in his limitations. And now he strives to pass on a similar tenacity to children through his after-school program, Children Are People.