Poetry Friday: Ask Krista Tippett

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Today we’re taking a break from our regularly scheduled “Ask a Poet” blogs, and taking the opportunity to get to know Krista Tippett, host of the public radio show and podcast On Being. The show grapples with what it means to be human, getting deep into issues of spirituality, culture, the arts, and more. At the 2018 Dodge Poetry Festival, Krista will be interviewing Jericho Brown, Gregory Orr and Sharon Olds, all separately, in live taped episodes entitled “What Is Found There: Poetry & On Being.” We are so honored and excited to welcome her to the Festival.

Without further ado, let’s get to know Krista Tippett.


tippettWhat are you currently reading?
I often find nonfiction writing too dry, but have recently discovered a beautiful genre of British nature writing. I am enraptured by a book by Michael McCarthy called The Moth Snowstorm. I am also slowly rereading and savoring a gorgeous book by Pádraig Ó Tuama, In the Shelter: Finding A Home In The World. He is an Irish poet and theologian and a social healer. This book is wondrous in how it brings the impulses behind all of those realms together as they come together in his person.

When did you first discover poetry?
I don’t remember poetry being read or discussed in my small town in Oklahoma, but in the third or fourth grade I began to fill notebooks with simple rhyming poems. I wish someone had introduced me to poets and poetry in a more formal way. I wish I had been invited or required to memorize poems. None of this happened for me in life or in school, and at some point I put my notebooks and my poetic bent, as it were, away. When I lived in divided Berlin in the 1980s, I experienced poets as cultural catalysts, heroes. When a few decades later I discovered that poetry had to be at the heart of On Being, it was like being reintroduced to something I needed like light and air. I experience many people taking in the poets and poetry we offer up in our show in that spirit – with an urgency, and a primal gratitude.

What is the role of poetry in today’s world?
Poetry holds its questions fervently and its answers gingerly. It is bigger than fact, deeper than opinion, and resistant to argument. Need I say more about the role of poetry in today’s world?


Krista Tippett is a Peabody-award winning broadcaster, National Humanities Medalist, and New York Times bestselling author. She founded and leads The On Being Project, hosts the globally esteemed On Being public radio show and podcast, and curates the Civil Conversations Project, an emergent approach to conversation and relationship across the differences of our age. Krista grew up in a small town in Oklahoma, attended Brown University, became a journalist and diplomat in Cold War Berlin, and later received a Master of Divinity from Yale University. Her books include Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living, and Einstein’s God: Conversations about Science and the Human Spirit.


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