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On Being with Krista Tippett is a public radio project delving into the human side of news stories + issues. Curated + edited by senior editor Trent Gilliss.

We publish guest contributions. We edit long; we scrapbook. We do big ideas + deep meaning. We answer questions.

We've even won a couple of Webbys + a Peabody Award.

Sarah Kay says that listening is the better part of speaking. She’s a spoken word poet in her twenties who is inspiring teenagers around the world — with the way she uses words:

"I like words, I love strange words, I love words that mean exactly what I need them to mean, and the word flux, when I found that word, I loved the way it was fluffy but it was sharp, it was just everything that I wanted and also, my life is just eternally in flux and just has been and probably always will be."

Sarah Kay says her job description is rediscovering wonder, and rediscovering how language and listening make impossible connections between people.



Tom Waits reads Charles Bukowski. Nirvana. A pairing of the gods.


In The Sixth Month (A Poem About Pregnancy and Motherhood)

by Sarah McKinstry-Brown, guest contributor

Book Cover (Cradling Monsoons)Your inner ear has fully formed.
You can hear now. I’ve heard
of mothers playing their unborn babies
Bach and Mozart because classical music
makes the brain’s spatial connections
arc towards one another like the fingertips
of Adam and God in the Sistine.

I’ve played no such music for you, and maybe,
some day, when the boy you pine for
is majoring in architecture
or when your brain goes cloudy
as you stare at your pop quiz in geometry,
you’ll hold this against me.

Truth is, I can’t bear headphones on my stomach,
won’t force you to sit in the front row seat
of your mother, the auditorium,
while Pachelbel’s Canon fires off the synapses
of your brain. For the same reason I can’t bring myself
to have your father recite French
or fractions into my belly.

No sonata or tongue or equation
could teach us what we’re learning already:
that to be human is to be heavy,
to carry more than one heart inside you.

Sarah McKinstry-BrownSarah McKinstry-Brown is a poet and performer living in Omaha, Nebraska. She is the winner of the 2011 Nebraska Book Award for Poetry for her debut collection, Cradling Monsoons, and her poems are featured in The Spoken Word Revolution Redux. You can read more of her poetry on her website and her thoughts at Cradling Monsoons.

We welcome your original reflections, essays, videos, or news items for possible publication on the On Being Blog. Submit your entry through ourFirst Person Outreach page.


Sarah Kay Performs “Hiroshima” on Nantucket

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

Sarah Kay at The Nantucket ProjectSarah Kay’s poem “Hiroshima” ends this week’s show. How we even knew that this audio existed came about as a result of a serendipitous invitation to The Nantucket Project.

Last fall, our host Krista Tippett attended the inaugural gathering of entrepreneurs, journalists, scientists, and artists who came together “to consider big ideas and the varying arc of those ideas as they shift from inception to action.” One of the other attendees was Ms. Kay.

As we were producing this show, Krista remembered her inspiring performance of the poem. Alas, it was nowhere to be found online, so she reached out to the project’s founder, Tom Scott, and received this fine recording. We did a bit of EQ’ing and compression and, voila!, we had our ending.