Welcome to May in Nashville. Fitting that it’s Mother’s Day month. What do they say? Books are the mother of all creation? Well, if they don’t, they need to! In the meantime, here’s a sampling of some of the literary events I’m looking forward to this Month.
On May 18 at 12 p.m. at the Main Library,as part of the Salon@615 series the co-founder (or co-creator if you will) of AOL, Steve Case, will be appearing in conversation with John Ingram, Chairman of Ingram Content Group, and Stuart McWhorter, co-founder and Chairman of Clayton Associates, about his new book, The Third Wave: An Entrepeneur’s Vision of the Future. On May 25 at 6:15 p.m., it’s Louise Erdrich and Jane Hamilton in Conversation about their new books, LaRose and The Excellent Lombards, respectively. On May 31, at 6:15 p.m. at the Main Library, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Russo will discuss his new book Everybody’s Fool. Both author appearances are free, ticketed events. There are two ways to get tickets: onsite 30 minutes before show time or in advance online for a $2.50 service fee per ticket. Check out all the Salon@615 events here.
The citywide Nashville Reads celebration of James McBride’s In the Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to his White Mother wraps up on Monday, May 9 at 6:15 pm at the main branch of the Nashville Public Library with a discussion with McBride. In the New York Times bestseller, The Color of Water, McBride, a former reporter for the Washington Post and People magazine, retraces his mother’s footsteps and, through her searing and spirited voice, recreates her remarkable story. From the Parnassus Books website:
The daughter of a failed itinerant Orthodox rabbi, she was born Rachel Shilsky (actually Ruchel Dwara Zylska) in Poland on April 1, 1921. Fleeing pogroms, her family emigrated to America and ultimately settled in Suffolk, Virginia, a small town where anti-Semitism and racial tensions ran high. With candor and immediacy, Ruth describes her parents’ loveless marriage; her fragile, handicapped mother; her cruel, sexually-abusive father; and the rest of the family and life she abandoned.
Parnassus has dozen of author events each month, in the store and around town. This month’s calendar includes Anton DiSclafani, Lee Clay Johnson, Jennifer Haigh, Luann Landon and Jeff Hardin, Terry Hiff and more. See the complete list at Parnassusbooks.net.
Poetry Readings and Open Mics
Matt Johnstone will lead his regular Et Al. Poetry reading at Sauvage (1114B 3rd Avenue South) on May 7, at 8 p.m. at the tail end of the Art Crawl Saturday at the Wedgewood/Houston galleries. The reading will host two innovative poets in contemporary poetry from New York, Chris Hosea and Douglas Piccinnini. Vanderbilt Lecturer, Instructor, poet, and critic, Keegan Cook Finberg will close the night as the 3rd reader. The featured artist for May’s Et Al. Reading is Nashville’s own Red Arrow Gallery artist Daniel Holland.
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). On Saturday, May 14 from 5:30-8:30 p.m., the event will feature the lyrical musings of Drake Moreno. JR Robles will host. The event, which never disappoints, is free to attend and fills up quickly.
Ciona Rouse is back with her monthly events for lovers of words. Her Writings on the Wall series take place at Atmalogy (2320 West End Avenue) on the third Thursday, May 19, at 6:30 p.m. May’s event will have a theme of music. Specifically, poems inspired by music, referencing musicians, with a distinct musicality, paired with music, about Music City, or whatever speaks to the writer with music in mind. If you want to be a part of this event, write Rouse at firstname.lastname@example.org. Rouse will also return as host of the wonderful series, Lyrical Brew, on her usual final Friday of the month (in this case, May 27, at Barnes & Noble at Vanderbilt University (2501 West End Avenue). Beginning at 7 p.m., the round will feature Destiny Birdsong, Joshua Moore, and Kyle Hunt as a dynamic trio. Both Rouse events are free to attend.
East Side Storytellin’
Consistent with the last three-plus years, I will yet again be hosting two East Side Storytellin’ shows in May. The first will be on May 3, at 7 p.m. at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street), East Side Storytellin’ 82, will feature writer Veerajar Rajaratnam and musician Becca Mancari. Two weeks later, on April 19 at the same venue and time, I will host East Side Storytellin’ 83 with Justin Quarry and Megan Palmer as well. Both events are free and BYOB.
New (Old) Reading Series
This isn’t as much a new reading series as the return of an older series with a new location and look. DNR Publishing is back at it with A Night of Free Speech on Tuesday, May 11 from 7-10 p.m. at Bearded Iris Brewing (101 Van Buren Street). Hosted by the ever pervasive 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.
The Porch Writer’s Collective continues to offer some of the best writing workshops in the region. On Saturday, May 14 from 2 p.m.-5 p.m., just before the madness of the Republican and Democratic Conventions, The Porch will host Love and Dissent: A Poetry Workshop. In this generative workshop, participants will “explore the political love poem – poems that praise and interrogate the world, that seek disruption and intimacy, and incorporate disparate elements from traditional odes to punk rock.” There will be writing prompts and enlightening discussions. Learn more at Porchtn.org.
I’ll be back on here before the heat of June and traffic of Bonnaroo traffic arrive. Until then, I hope you have a great month ahead. Remember to be nice to one another out there.
Ed Note: For a comprehensive list of upcoming literary events, be sure to check the Books and Poetry section at NowPlayingNashville.com.