Happy February, and welcome back to another edition of Beard on Books! I’m honored to have your attention again and tell you everything you need to catch this month in Nashville in order to keep your literary love aflame. Something I love and appreciate is making a comeback this month: the Et Al. Poetry Reading series hosted by Matt Johnstone. The first reading of 2017 will happen at 8:15 p.m on Saturday, February 4, at the end of the Wedgewood/Houston art crawl, at Sauvage (1114b 3rd Avenue South). The event will feature poets Adam Day, J. Joseph Kane, and Robyn Leigh Lear. There will be visual art by Zach Felts, and the event is free to attend! What’s not to love?
Poetry Readings and Open Mics
Poetry in the Brew, an 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, February 11, from 5:30-8:30 pm, the event will feature the great Henry L. Jones. There will also be plenty of time at the open mic for those who sign up before the show begins. The event is free to attend and fills up quickly. That Time of the Month is also making a comeback in 2017. The first show of the year will take place on Tuesday, February 28 at 7:30 pm at Zanies (2025 8th Avenue South). The regular series prompts local writers and storytellers to submit, curate, and share true stories that fit the bill of the themes. The theme for February is “First Time.” Organizers are currently taking submissions for the show on the 28th. If interested, or know anyone who should submit, please tell them to send stories ASAP to firstname.lastname@example.org. The guidelines are that the story must be true, funny, something about a first time. The word count is 1,000 word max.
DNR Publishing brings its always-enlightening A Night of Free Speech to Bearded Iris Brewing (101 Van Buren Street) on Wednesday, February 15, 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 several 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.
Scarritt Bennett Center will once again host its monthly Poet’s Corner series. On Thursday, February 23, at 7 p.m., the featured poet will be East Side Storytellin’ alumnus Veera Rajaratnam. It is free and open to the public.
There will be a unique gathering this month by The Regenerates. They will take over David Lusk Gallery Nashville (516 Hagan Street) on Friday, February 17, from 8 p.m.-midnight. The featured artist will be Hans Schmitt-Matzen, with music provided by Big Surr and Austin Dowell. Aaron Joel will emcee, and featured writers reading their work will include Dan Hoy, Ericka Suhl, and Meg Wade.
Southeast of Nashville, Kory Wells will once again host her Poetry in the Boro event at Austin Audio Visual Design (707 W. Main Street, Murfreesboro, TN). On Monday, February 27 (Emily Harper Beard’s birthday, in case you want to celebrate and wish her a happy birthday), Kory will welcome East Side Storytellin’ alum, Matthew Leavitt Brown, and J.L. Trent as her featured writers. Sign-ups for the open mic, begin at 6:30 p.m., featured writers begin at 7 p.m. For time limits, the February word challenge, and more details about the event, check Facebook.
Ciona Rouse’s Writings on the Wall series take place at Atmalogy (2320 West End Avenue) on the third Thursday each month, and this month, that’s February 16 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), write Ciona at email@example.com. On Friday, February 24, at 7 p.m., at Barnes & Noble at Vanderbilt University (2501 West End Avenue), Rouse will host her other monthly series, Lyrical Brew. Keep tabs on Facebook.
The Vanderbilt University English Department, as part of its Gertrude and Harold S. Vanderbilt Visiting Writers Series, hosting a number of readings each month. On February 3 at 7:00 p.m. in Buttrick Hall, it’s Vanderbilt Centennial Professor of English and Guggenheim Fellow, Mark Jarman, reading from his numerous poetry collections. Looking ahead to March, Gary Shteyngart will be visiting.
East Side Storytellin’ Presents its 100th Event!
We’ll be hitting a truly extraordinary mark this month as we celebrate East Side Storytellin’ 100 (ed. note: Congratulations, Chuck!) on Tuesday, February 7, at 7 p.m. at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street). For such a grand occasion, we are featuring the ultimate gentlemen in John J. Thompson and Phil Madeira. Two weeks later, on February 21, at the same venue and time, I will host East Side Storytellin’ 101 with Sarah Hays Coomer and Leah Blevins. 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 Emily Ley, Victoria Aveyard, Andrew Mariniss, Ruta Sepetys, V.E. Schwab, David Maraniss, 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 top authors to the area every month. This month, on February 24, back at Parnassus (3900 Hillsboro Pike, Suite 14), at 6:30 p.m, they will feature one of my all-time favorites, George Saunders (author of Lincoln in the Bardo).
The Porch and Writing Workshops
This month, The Porch Writers’ Collective hosts three must-experience events. First, they are taking over the Band of Poets series at Bobby Idle Hour and renaming it The Idle Hour Reading Series. On Friday, February 3, at 7 p.m, they will welcome Anne Barngrover, Destiny Birdsong, Todd Dills, and Chance Chambers reading from their work. Second, they are hosting a very special appearance by the award-winning author Jamie Quatro (author of I Want to Show You More) at Refinery Nashville (438 Houston Street, Suite 263) on Friday, February 17, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. The reading is free and open to the public because of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Third, Quatro will teach a workshop for The Porch the following day, Saturday, February 18, titled When Bad Sex Happens to Good Writers: The Dos and Don’ts of Sex Scenes. For registration or information about everything related to The Porch, visit their website.
Before I go, one more item that our dear friend and author Michael McRay passed along. On Wednesday, February 8, from 7-9 p.m., at Collins Alumni Auditorium (1 University Park Drive), best-selling Christian author Shane Claiborne will be on site as part of the popular Tokens Show for a discussion of his new book Executing Grace: How the Death Penalty Killed Jesus and Why Its Killing Us. In addition to an extended interview with Claiborne about his writing and theology around the death penalty, the night will feature other conversations on the death penalty, mass incarceration, and forgiveness with Stacy Rector, Jeannie Alexander, Derek Webb, Lee Camp and McRay. All event proceeds go to benefit Tennesseans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty and No Exceptions Prison Collective. You can learn more here.
I’ll be back before St. Patrick’s Day. Until then, I hope you have a lovely month ahead. Please 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.