Hello. Happy New Year and welcome back! I’m sure you enjoyed your fair share of holiday desserts, and you’re smack dab in the middle of some great resolutions. I’m honored to begin another year of letting you in on everything you need to catch in literary events in Nashville. Kicking things off, there is a new event that will take place at one of my favorite Nashville venues, The Family Wash (626 Main Street). On Saturday, January 14, at 9:30 p.m., words and music will blend in a unique performance called Poets, Playwrights, and Players. The concert will unite poets and playwrights and several East Side Storytellin’ alumni in TJ Jarrett and Sally Harvey Anderson, plus Jas Taylor, Greg Greene, Cowboy Concept Y’all, and psychedelic roots band, Ted Drozdowski’s Scissormen. Admission is free, but donations are accepted and the performers will have books, recordings, and artwork available.
Poetry Readings and Open Mics
Poetry in the Brew, the open mic series with featured guests, takes place every second Saturday of the month at Portland Brew East (1921 Eastland Avenue). This month, on Saturday, January 14, from 5:30-8:30 p.m., the event will feature the great Emily Joy. The event, which never disappoints, is free to attend and fills up quickly.
Michael McRay hosts his monthly Tenx9 Nashville Storytelling event on Monday, January 30, from 7:30-9:30 p.m., at Douglas Corner Café (2106 8th Avenue South). A Belfast-originated monthly community storytelling night where nine people have up to ten minutes each to tell a real story from their lives, each month has a theme, and every month is free to attend. The theme of the January show will be “Starting.” If you interested in participating with your own secret story, contact McRay.
DNR Publishing presents its enlightening A Night of Free Speech on Wednesday, January 18, from 7-10 p.m., at Bearded Iris Brewing (101 Van Buren Street). Hosted by Honest Lewis, NOFS offers an uncensored and open environment for everyone, no matter style or subject matter. There are 5-7 minute time slots scheduled on a first-come basis with early sign-in starting at 6:30 p.m. Help spread the word about the event, and bring your own word and ideas.
Cool Skull Press will host a Nashville poetry reading on Thursday, January 19, from 8-10 p.m. at a location to be announced. hosted by Cool Skull Press. The featured poets will be August Smith, Dylan Lancaster, Naomi Bartlett, Chelsea Valega, and Blake Wallin. To find out more information about location and Cool Skull Press, you’ll need to follow them on Facebook. What’s a Nashville reading without a little adventure to make sure you really want to attend?
Scarritt Bennett Center hosts its monthly Poet’s Corner series on Thursday, January 26, at 7 p.m. The featured poet for this round of reading will be the East Side Storytellin’ alumnus and legend, Walker Bass. It is free and open to the public.
Don’t forget about a very unique gathering this month co-sponsored by The Porch and Scarritt Bennett Center. On Sunday, January 15, from 2-5 p.m. at Harambee Auditorium in Fondren Hall at Scarritt-Bennett Center, many of Nashville’s finest will be reading work as part of Writers Resist: Voices for Social Justice. This is Nashville’s contribution to a day of events throughout the US and in other countries, during which invited speakers will read from a curated selection of diverse writers’ voices that speak to the ideals of Democracy and free expression. Invited readers to expect are Lorraine Lopez, Bill Brown, Mary Gautier, Tiana Clark, Ciona Rouse, Joseph Powell, Michael McRay, Anna Silverstein, Joshua Moore, Kelsey Norris, Lagnajita Mukhopadyay, Whit Hill, Freya Sachs, and Karla Vasquez. You can find more information at writersresist.org.
Ciona Rouse is back this month with her two signature events. Her Writings on the Wall series, this month hosted by Rouse and Dana Malone, takes place at Atmalogy (2320 West End Avenue) on the third Thursday, January 19, at 6:30 p.m. If you want to know about this month’s theme or be a part of this event by sharing your original poetry (up to 3 pieces), please write Ciona at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Friday, January 27, at 7 p.m., at Barnes & Noble at Vanderbilt University (2501 West End Avenue), Rouse will also host another episode of Lyrical Brew. For more information about Lyrical Brew and who will be featured, keep tabs on Facebook.
East Side Storytellin’
I will again be hosting two East Side Storytellin’ shows in November. The first, East Side Storytellin’ 98, will take place on Tuesday, January 3, at 7 p.m. at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) and will feature Liza Kawaller and Machaela-Catherine Nesler. Two weeks later, on January 17, at the same venue and time, I will host East Side Storytellin’ 99 with Matt Urmy and Joanna Barbera. Both events are free and BYOB.
Parnassus and Salon@615
Parnassus has dozen of author events each month, in the store and around town. This month’s calendar includes Tish Harrison, Erin Oprea, Chris Bohjallan, Lydia Peelle, Kevin Wilson, and more. See the complete list at Parnassusbooks.net.
Salon@615, presented by Parnassus, the Nashville Public Library and the Nashville Public Library Foundation, brings some heavy hitters to the area every month. This month, there will be back-to-back events that will surely amaze. On January 19, at Belmont University’s McAfee Concert Hall (2100 Belmont Blvd), Salon@615 will feature Zadie Smith (Swing Time). On the following night January 20, at 6:15 p.m., at Nashville Children’s Theatre (25 Middleton Street), the series will welcome Veronica Roth (author Carve the Mark).
The Porch and Writing Workshops
On Saturday, January 7, from 2-5 p.m., at The Skillery (1323 6th Avenue North), The Porch Writers’ Collective will host a special workshop lead by local great Kendra DeColo. The three-hour workshop, Writing Love and Solidarity: A Poetry Workshop, will including the reading of some unforgettable and powerful works as catalysts to learn how to use your own voice as tools for peace, solidarity, and liberation. It will be one of the best workshops you’ll ever attend. I guarantee it. Learn more about their other parties and workshops at Porchtn.org.
One more fantastic workshop to know about will be hosted by our dear friend and Nashville resident, Patricia Alice Albrecht. The workshop, Beyond Imagination, will be held on Saturday, January 21, from 1-3 p.m., at Willow Oak Center for Arts & Learning (726 South Main Street) in Springfield, Tenn., Patricia is calling all kids older than grade 6 to bring their notebooks, pens, and willingness to share. “Beyond Imagination” is a fabulous and one-time creative writing and poetry workshop with a living legend for a mere $25. All writers who have graduated sixth grade are welcome, from first-time writers to seasoned professionals. For more details about upcoming events and workshops with Patricia and Willow Oak Center for Arts & Learning, check out willowoakarts.org.
That’s it for now. I’ll be back before Valentine’s Day. Until then, I hope you have a great month and start to the new year. Remember to be nice to one another out there.
For a comprehensive list of upcoming literary events, be sure to check the Books and Poetry section at NowPlayingNashville.com.