Arizona Public Radio | Your Source for NPR News
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Poetry Friday: The Grand Finale


It’s the last Friday of 2020, and that means it’s the last Poetry Friday of the year, as well. Today, we take a look back at a difficult year by way of the poems listeners submitted: from a frontline nurse, to a teenager stuck at home, to an up-and-coming poet who uses writing to manage his OCD.

This year’s Poetry Friday segments represent a timeline of how the coronavirus pandemic took hold of the world and our lives.

It started in mid-March with a reading from Flagstaff poet and put owner JJames Jay on the day he had to shut down his business and lay off his employees.

Regular Poetry Friday contributor Aeka Joshi shared her poem Needlework in the Pandemic. She’s a high school student navigating school and adolescence from home.

Arizona poet Austin Davis submitted a poem this year from his new book of online poetry Celestial Night Light. He uses writing to manage his OCD, which has ramped up during the pandemic.

But, by far the most powerful reading of the year came from Karen Vanaman, a frontline nurse taking care of patients with COVID-19. She simultaneously broke our hearts and lifted them up with a reading of Marge Piercy’s To Be of Use, which Karen dedicated to her coworkers.

Poetry Friday is produced by KNAU's Gillian Ferris. All segments are archived at