Fantastic Audio Books & Podcasts

Last night The Elephant Engine High Dive Revival came to town. It was a collection of a half dozen of the greatest Spoken Word Poets alive today. They're currently on a two month tour taking them across the US, and it's unfortunate just how rare the traveling story teller has become. With movies and music, no one has time for a simple poem or story. I wasn't able to go, but wanted to take this chance to write a bit about where to go online to find real stories.

I'm here to tell you a few tales of passion. There's a Jewish saying that I love. What is truer than truth? Answer: The story. I'm a storyteller. I want to convey something that is truer than truth about our common humanity. All stories interest me, and some haunt me until I end up writing them.

Quote from Isabel Allende at 2008 TED Talk

The Moth Podcast is a brilliant source for 15 minute stories about everything from Mafia Relations to long lost siblings.

This American Life is consistently the top podcasts on iTunes and top show on NPR for stories unlike anywhere else.

While books on tape are nice, too often they fall into the trap of someone mechanically reading another's words. A brilliant exception available for free online is Neil Gaiman reading The Graveyard Book, winner of the 2009 Newberry Medal and Hugo Award.

Two other books that stick out are Jim Dale reading Harry Potter and Live from New York read by the cast of SNL and Lorne Michaels.

Getting back to the motivation of the post, I first heard Slam Poetry on HBO's Def Poetry Jam.

If that's not an option, the best source for hearing Spoken Word Poetry online is Indiefeed's Performance Poetry. It's hit or miss, but when it's on, it's amazing. Listen to this clip here. If you haven't heard of Buddy Wakefield or Derrick Brown before prepare to have your mind blown.

ImprovJeremy Shuback