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Allison Moorer On The Poetry And Podcasts That Put Things In Perspective

Apr 23, 2020
Originally published on April 23, 2020 10:00 am

Our Daily Breather is a series where we ask writers and artists to recommend one thing that's helping them get through the days of isolation during the coronavirus pandemic.

Who: Allison Moorer

Where: Nashville, Tenn.

Recommendation: Reading and listening that encourages contemplation


Reading, for me, is a lifeline in general and especially during times of strife, confusion or hardship. Presently, I am turning to the poetry of Mary Oliver. I find her work so comforting, though not in a platitudinous way. Since she so often focuses on the beauty and awesome mystery of the natural world, her words serve as a reminder for me that what was always will be, at least in some ways. Oliver was a genius at putting beautifully in perspective how simultaneously large and small human beings really are.

Additionally, I find solace in Krista Tippett's podcast, On Being. Tippett and her guests always offer a deep dive into spiritual and social topics through their conversations, and usually, when I listen, I am comforted by the contemplative and prayerful place that it sends me. I listen to On Being, no matter how life is going — it's a touchstone for me and I look forward to every new episode. Tippett's book, Becoming Wise, is also a work I highly recommend for keeping everything in a positive light whether the sun is shining or the rain is pouring. What better subjects to read about than love, compassion and forgiveness? My copy is dog-eared and tattered.

And finally, no matter how hard things get, I think about my 93-year-old grandmother, who was one of 14 children. Born in 1926 in dirt poor South Alabama, she knows a thing or two about lean, down and dirty times, and I draw on the wisdom she has passed down to me about being thrifty and efficient in my own home. Because of her skill as a homemaker, I've seen how running a household is an art form. I'll never be as good at it all as she was and still is, but every time I find myself re-purposing leftovers or comparing grocery prices, I know I've got her good common sense running through me. There is no greater comfort than knowing how to get by.


Allison Moorer's latest album is 2019's Blood, a companion to her memoir of the same name.

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