The Slowdown: A 5-Minute Literary Once-a Day Multivitamin for the Soul

The Slowdown, a daily 5-minute long podcast from U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, is remarkable in its power to truly slow down time and transport you OUT of the busy mulit-tasking present. The podcast as been likened to a “literary once-a-day multivitamin”*. Its simple formula consists of a thoughtful preamble written and read by Smith, that leads the way into a poem she has chosen, amplifying its power.

I draw both from poems I’ve loved a long time, and poems that are the result of careful sleuthing. I seek poems that will fit in 1 or 2 or 3 minutes, and that use vivid, evocative language to examine familiar aspects of life. Some poems are topical, like Franny Choi’s Gentrifier, while others shed new light on ordinary feelings, like gratitude, or experiences, like coming-of-age.

But it’s Smith’s marvelously quiet voice that makes the carefully curated readings so compelling and accessible, as though she were reading just to you.

Here’s a recent episode about our favorite subject — trees:


If you’re not a podcast person, there is no need to figure out HOW to listen to the daily Slow Down. Simply go to the Slowdown’s webpage to stream episodes, or to subscribe.




With thanks to Cara de Silva

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