Kicking things off for the month of May, leave it to the Nashville Public Library to team up with Southern Word and create something very special. Directed by Tia Mitchell and Rashad Rayford, Poetry Moves & Freestyle Gallery will take place at the Auditorium & Art Gallery inside the Nashville Public Library (615 Church Street) on Saturday, May 2 at 2 p.m. It is poetry, movement, the art of freestyle, and an inter-generational cast of Nashville top writers intertwined at this celebration of voice and body. It is free to attend.
On Sunday, May 3, you have two stellar options taking place — and you can attend both if you plan ahead. First, NashvilleReads will have an arts showcase along with East Side Story at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street). From 3-5 p.m., there will be Nashville writers, songwriters, visual artists,and students from the Southern Word program performing and sharing original new art based upon the book Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. Some of the artists involved include Oni Woods, Miranda Crump and Joshua Payne. It is free to attend. Second on Sunday, you can leave The Post after an hour and still have time to make it over to The Skillery (1323 6th Avenue North) at 4 p.m. for The Porch Writer’s Collective’s POETree, a spring poetry celebration in the courtyard. The local poetry community has been planting small flags of handwritten poems at different locations around Nashville during the month of April, and now they will come together to hang them in full bloom. Some of the poets sharing the good word will be Leslie LaChance, Ciona Rouse, Tiana Clark, Chance Chambers, Walker Bass, Patricia Alice Albrecht, Alita Berry, Kana Kavon, and more. It is free to attend.
On Tuesday, May 5, before you get your celebration on for Cinco de Mayo (ed. note: and after you’ve given to your favorite nonprofit — maybe NowPlayingNashville.com? — via thebigpayback.org), you should drop by The Post (1701 Fatherland) and enjoy another round of East Side Storytellin’. At 7 p.m. sharp, I will be there to host the 59th episode of our series. Chance Chambers will be the featured Nashville writer, and the featured musician will be none other than Lilly Hiatt! It is free to attend as well.
On Wednesday, May 6, Melanie Vare will be presenting another episode of her That Time of the Month series. This month’s show will be titled Rock-a-Bye Baby. There will be stories by five women and one brave man, including Linda Fogwell, Amanda Elend, Kathleen Cosgrove, Madeleine Hicks, Erica Ciccarone, and Mr. John Lavey. It will be hosted by comedienne Paulina Combow. It takes place at Tin Cup Coffee (138 Rosa L. Parks Blvd) at 7 p.m., $7 online or $10 at the door. You can find tickets here.
On Friday, May 8 from 7-9 p.m., Howlin’ After Dark, hosted by Merrill Farnsworth Writing Circles and Jessica Kimbrough, takes place at Howlin’ Books in the Grimey’s and Grimey’s Too complex on 8th Ave. The theme this month is “Mamas Who Don’t Bake Cookies.” Among the writers scheduled to read are Mark Lemley, Joe Pagetta and John Schirmer.
On Tuesday, May 12, NashvilleReads will have its final event with a reading and talk by author Ruta Sepetys and composer Gavin Mikhail (who created 8 original songs as a soundtrack for the film adaptation of Between Shades of Gray). This will go down at the Nashville Public Library at 6:15 p.m. Then, on Wednesday, May 13, from 5-7 p.m., you may want to venture over to Lipscomb University’s Shamblin Theater (One University Park Drive) for the Snap & Thunder Middle School Slam. It is free to attend. Show up and be amazed.
To properly introduce you to the second half of the month of May, why not join me for the 60th round of East Side Storytellin’ on Tuesday, May 19th? That’s right, you don’t have a good excuse to miss this fun at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7 p.m. sharp and free as usual. This round will feature poetry and visual art by Matthew Leavitt Brown and music from the awesome Nashville-based band Dewveall! I hope to see you there. You’ll thank me, and all of the artists involved, afterwards.
Also on Tuesday, May 19, right after East Side Storytellin’ (meaning you can catch the beginning of East Side Storytellin’ 60 and then head over to this afterward to get the best of both worlds on the East Side), you are invited to E t A l’s 4th event. Starting a little after 8 p.m, this will be another night of intelligent, intuitive and intimate poetry. You will be able to hear from the likes of Kristi Maxwell, Ericka Suhl, and Tiana Clark. It will be well worth your time, and the burgers are killer too!
You won’t need to stay on your couch Thursday, May 21. You have another two-for-one event day that will help culture you up just right. In the afternoon, from noon-1:15 p.m., buy a ticket and visit The Skillery (1323 6th Avenue North) again to join the Arts and Business Council of Greater Nashville and The Porch for “Paths to Publishing,” a panel designed to offer direction to writers interested in learning more about the various paths of publishing. The panel will featured Julie Schoerke, Todd Bottorff, Jen Chesak, and Anne Shayne.
In the evening, Salon@615 will have a very cool event for photographer Sally Mann at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts at 6:15pm. She will discuss her book Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs and have a signing afterwards. It is a ticketed event. You can get your tickets here.
On Friday, May 22, this might be my new favorite day of any month of all time! It is local author Betsy Phillips’ birthday, but it is also the grand release of her book The Wolf’s Bane! The release party will be at East Side Story (1108 Woodland Street, Unit B) from 6-9pm. The Wolf’s Bane is the historical tale of a Nashville werewolf written by Phillips and illustrated by print makers Lesley Patterson-Marx, Carrie Cox, Megan Kelley, Bryce Coatney, and Jessica Crouch from Platetone Printmaking, Paper and Book Arts. It will be released in 2015 by Nashville Limited Edition Club (NLEC) and made available through East Side Story.
The Nashville Limited Edition Club is a collaboration between Brown Dog and East Side Story which pairs a Nashville author with a Nashville artist(s) for one year culminating in a collaborative, limited edition publication printed and bound by Nashville businesses and made available through East Side Story―a bookstore focused solely on Nashville authors. This limited edition book will retail for $300. A paperback version of The Wolf’s Bane will be made available with digital prints of artwork retailing for $30 at East Side Story. To pre-order, email me or call 615-915-1808.
After almost a solid week to recover from The Wolf’s Bane and you digesting that epic project, on Thursday, May 28, there will be another round of Salon@615 events with author Deborah Harkness. She will be discussing her work The Book of Life at the Nashville Public Library at 6:15pm. Again, you can find more information about tickets here.
In closing this wonderful, enriching month of May, you have one more chance to see and hear Ciona Rouse working her magic with Lyrical Brew. On Friday, May 29, at the Vanderbilt Barnes and Noble (2501 West End Avenue), from 7-8:15 p.m., Ciona welcomes you to bring all of your friends to enjoy an evening of local poetry. This event will feature Donika Ross, Christina Stoddard, and Elizabeth Townsend. I honestly can’t think of a better way to end the month of May 2015 for the literary community of Nashville, here and now.
I hope all of the above helps you have one of the most productive and enlightening months of your life. It may sound crazy at first, but let that sink in and then plan on attending all or most of the above and see where that gets you.
I’ll be back on here in June, but I hope you have a great day, week, and month ahead. Remember to be nice to one another out there.
For more a comprehensive list of area Literary events, be sure to visit NowPlayingNashville.com’s “Books + Poetry” section.