(Ed. Note: In our unending effort to shine a spotlight on the diverse array of entertainment offerings in Nashville, we’re pleased to welcome East Side Story proprietor and champion of all things literary, Chuck Beard, to our roster of blog contributors. Chuck will be giving you highlights of some of the many literary events happening in town. Be sure to check our Books + Poetry section at NowPlayingNashville.com for a more comprehensive list. Thanks! JoeP.)
Thanks to the good people of NowPlayingNashville.com and HowToPlayNashville.com, I’ve been offered the opportunity to share some of the best literary events going on around Nashville this month. I’ll give them to you in the chronological order so that you can go ahead and map our your plans.
To kick things off and let you know where I’ll be. This Tuesday, March 3 at 6:30 p.m., I’ll be hosting the East Side Story and Unbound Arts presentation of East Side Storytellin’ 55 at Riverwood Mansion. There will be a featured reading by Nashville’s most recent New York Times best selling author, Andrew Maraniss, reading from Strong Inside, and a musical performance by memoirist and musician Marshall Chapman. A wonderful meal, for those who choose to purchase dinner, will be prepared by 8 Lavender Lane. Purchase your tickets here.
On Wednesday, March 4, local author/comedienne Melanie Vare will be hosting another That Time of the Month show at the Tin Cup. The show starts at 7 p.m., with stories shared by six writers around the theme of “Behind Closed Doors.” You can get a deal from buying your ticket early online or paying a little more at the door. Get tickets here.
Friday, March 6 at 5 p.m. sharp, you need to do yourself a favor and check out the amazing Southern Word and Youth Speaks Nashville poets. The Frist Center for the Visual Arts will be hosing the 2015 Mid-South Grand Slam Semifinal. You will hear some of the most amazing spoken word and poetry slams you can ever imagine. If you have time, turn left out of the Frist Center parking lot onto Demonbreun and right on 8th Avenue, then stay right on the roundabout for 8th Avenue and get yourself to Howlin’ Books inside the Grimey’s/Grimey’s Too complex at 7 p.m. for the monthly Howlin’ After Dark reading and new emerging writers series. This month it’s Leesa Cross-Smith, Flannery O’Connor Award finalist, reading from her collection, Every Kiss is War (Mojave River Press, 2014), followed by Tom Kimmel, Kenneth Robinson and Bob Bradley taking turns offering poems around the theme of “Searching the Shadows for New Light.” ***UPDATE. Due to Inclement Weather affecting Cross-Smith’s travel, Howlin’ After Dark has been Rescheduled for April 3.***
Finish of your week off by visiting East Side Story (1108 Woodland Street, Unit B) this Saturday from 2:30-3 p.m. for a quick meet & greet with Satish Modi! In case you haven’t noticed, Satish’s novel, In Love with Death has been #1 in India for most of the last year and the BBC chose it as one of the best books in the UK in 2014.
To finish off the first half of the month, I have two events that will change your life for the better. For the first, you’ll need to get yourself acquainted with the Vanderbilt Visiting Writers reading series. On Thursday, March 12, from 7-8 p.m., Battleborn author Claire Vaye Watkins visits Buttrick Hall, 2301 Vanderbilt Place, Room 101. Battleborn was named by the San Francisco Chronicle as one of the best books of 2012, and named NPR’s Best Short Story collection. It is free and Open to the Public, and definitely will be worth your time. The second thing that will make your life better is taking time to visit the monthly series, Poetry in the Brew. On Saturday, March 14 from 5:30-8:30 p.m., at Portland Brew East (1921 Eastland Avenue), C. Ra McGuirt and D. Philip Caron are reuniting and hosting a reading in the style of their Windows on the Cumberland readings that ran from 1983 to 1993. In fact, they are calling it Windows at the Brew: One Night Only. It will be a legendary night to cap off the first half of the month.
After the Ides of March, do yourself a favor and visit Riverwood Mansion again on Tuesday, March 17, at 7pm for Unbound Arts and East Side Story’s Presentation of East Side Storytellin’ 56 with a reading from Nashville musician and local legend Michael Supe Granda and performance by singer and songwriter Joseph LeMay (Seventeen Acres). Get tickets here.
The next night, on Wednesday, March 18 t 6 p.m. at The Post East (1701 Fatherland), join local author Susannah Felts as she and some of her friends from Chicago read original work as part of Curbside Splendor’s Southern Tour. Sharing the night with Felts will be Brian Costello, James Tadd Adcox and Todd Kaneko.
Think March Madness and poetry don’t mix? Think again. The next night, on Thursday, March 19 from 6-7:15 p.m., venture over to Atmalogy (2320 West End Avenue) for a unique poetry experience. In honor of college basketball’s biggest month, the theme will be “Hoops.” There will be music, poetry and wonderful words shared all around.
To finish this month as strong as possible, I’ll give you a literary sandwich of sorts — with dessert — to complete the best first entry I could muster for HowToPlayNashville.com.
The first step of making a great sandwich is getting perfect bread. The Porch Writer’s Collective is Nashville’s bread for literary life. On Sunday, March 22 from 1-5 p.m., they are calling all interested writers to join them for their free, monthly write-in at The Skillery (1323 6th Avenue North). It will be there where you’ll have time and the best of company to help you be as productive as possible.
The middle of said sandwich will be one more cool event at East Side Story (1108 Woodland Street, Unit B), that will once again mix music and stories like few other. At 7 p.m., local author and musician Ricko Donovan will read excerpts from his new novel, The Broken Promised Land, and will throw in a few songs for good measure.
The wrapping up the sandwich takes you back to The Porch Writer’s Collective at The Skillery (1323 6th Avenue North) on Wednesday, March 25 at 6 p.m., for a free night of fun courtesy of the BOOKS + BEER BOOK CLUB series. This month’s pick is Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill.
Now, for the dessert. To fill any sweet literary tooth, leave it to Ciona Rouse. On Friday, March 27 from 7-8:15 p.m. at Barnes & Noble at Vanderbilt University (2501 West End Avenue), Rouse will be celebrating the month of poet mentors. The featured poets have mentored and learned from one another, and everyone who comes to experience the evening will leave happier and better than ever before. The featured pairs are Bill Brown & Tiana Clark (recently accepted into the MFA program at Vanderbilt University) and Jeff Hardin & Walker Bass. Seriously, you’d have a hard time finding a better collection of superb wordsmiths anywhere in the world right now.
All of the above should prove that you should get off the couch and enjoy as much of Nashville’s literary magic as you possibly can. We live in a city that has just as much literary talent as the music. I’ll be back next month to give you more events to attend, but enjoy your month ahead and remember to be nice to one another.
For more literary events, please check out the BOOKS + POETRY category at NowPlayingNashville.com.