Versify #24: A Woman And A Dragon, Part One

Versify #24: A Woman And A Dragon, Part One
Illustration by Mack Linebaugh

Linda Ragsdale felt lucky to get the last seat on a trip to Mumbai, intending to deepen her practice of meditation. She found herself instead struggling for survival — in the middle of India’s most severe terrorist attack in decades. In part one of this two-part season finale, we hear how Linda’s world disintegrated into chaos – and began to find order once again. Warning: This episode contains descriptions of violence.


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Versify #23: It Took 27 Years & Then It Popped

Versify #23: It Took 27 Years & Then It Popped
Photo courtesy KC Steedle

Have you ever had the nightmare where you’re standing at the front of an audience, about to say something important, but when you open your mouth there’s nothing? Well imagine waking up in that nightmare and realizing that you couldn’t get out. That’s exactly what happened to KC Steedle, the night that a mysterious blackout nearly killed his dream of ever having a career in music. KC tells poet Ciona Rouse about the disquieting experience of confronting a medical anomaly. And a surprising change in plan that ultimately saved his career, and his life. Then Ciona takes his unsettling tale, and turns it into poetry.

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Neighbors: The Dog Trap, Part Two

Neighbors: The Dog Trap, Part Two
photo courtesy Joel Rice

Joel Rice got the opportunity to ghost-write the memoir of one of his childhood heroes—skateboarding legend Christian Hosoi. But Joel’s experience was an unpleasant one that brought up an old childhood trauma at a skatepark. In this episode, I call Christian to hear his side of the story, and then both Joel and Christian hash out the past on the phone together. And much like the first episode, Joel’s experience with Christian did not go how he hoped it would.

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Neighbors: The Dog Trap, Part One

Neighbors: The Dog Trap, Part One
Photo credit: Eric England

What happens to someone when the thing they love most in the world — skateboarding— is also the source of their greatest wound? When Joel Rice, a naturally bookish kid was younger he wanted nothing more than to be a pro skater like his heroes, Christian Hosoi and Tony Hawk. That dream died the day he hit the “dog trap,” a hazard at a popular skating spot in San Francisco. Falling on his face in front of everyone that afternoon was a major trauma that haunted Joel as he became a prominent skateboarding journalist for ESPN and McSweeney’s. Years later, he got the opportunity to ghostwrite the memoir of his idol, Hosoi. It was a second chance to join the ranks of professional skaters, but it did not go how he hoped.

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Versify #22: Before I Could Give Her The Ring

Photo credit: Mike Voltz
A craving for novelty and excitement is a hallmark of early adulthood. But for Jakob Lewis, host of WPLN’s podcast Neighbors, a summertime quest for new experiences nearly cost him his life. Today, Jakob tells the story of how a thirst for adventure landed him on the front lines of a California wildfire at the age of 20. He shares his experience to poet Lagnajita Mukhopadhyay, who takes his fiery tale and turns it into poetry.


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Versify #21: Saturn Returns By I-40 West

Photo courtesy Brad Wear
After leaving suburban Tennessee for a career in Hollywood when he was just 18, Brad Wear became, in a lot of ways, the picture of LA success. But twenty years later, Brad was struck with a feeling of absence, of being fully out of touch — with himself and his family, from whom he’d been estranged. Brad tells the story about his journey to reconnect and the cost of finding home again to poet Chance Chambers, who takes what he hears and composes an original poem.

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Versify #20: Mercy At The Ryman

Photo credit: Hunter Armistead
For singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier, coming to country music in her 40s was one of many things that made her feel like an industry outsider. Today, Mary speaks with poet Destiny Birdsong about her unconventional entry into the music business, and how an unforgettable performance at the Ryman redefined Mary’s relationship to her music — and to herself. Destiny takes the high notes of their conversation and composes an original poem.


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