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

Allison Moorer has been reading poetry to stay sane during the pandemic.
Heidi Ross
Courtesy of the artist
Allison Moorer has been reading poetry to stay sane during the pandemic.

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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    Allison Moorer