Welcome back to Beard on Books. Usually I try my best to give you the highlights on my radar for the local literary scene. I plan on doing the same for this round, for February, the month of love, but I’d like to kick things off by tell you about and giving proper love to the organization Southern Word.
After years of packing the basement of East Branch Library during February with the Black History House poetry showcase, Southern Word has joined forces with the National Museum of African American Music, Lovenoise, StudioNPL, The 5 Spot, and Bongo Java to extend the day of poetry and music through the evening. On Saturday, February 10, from 2-9 p.m., Southern Word will host The BlackLift Music & Poetry Festival.
2 p.m. – Black History House at East Branch Library (206 Gallatin Road)
Southern Word’s annual Black History House is a celebration of the African diaspora: past, present, & future. New and established poets of all ages share pieces sparked by the artists’ heroes and influences. The event ends with the Freestyle Gallery in which poets take words from the audience and weave them into commentary on the world and predictions for the yet to come. The event is hosted by Southern Word mentor Rashad Rayford.
4 p.m. – Fine Tuning: Master Series w/Shawn Mitsell at Bongo Java East (107 S. 11th St)
A special edition of the National Museum of African American Music’s Fine Tuning: Master Series. Trumpeter, composer, vocalist, lyricist and producer Rod McGaha is joined by writer, actor, and Southern Word mentor Shawn Whitsell for a blended music and poetry writing workshop. Feel free to bring children 11 and up.
6 p.m. – Soul, Rap & Poetry Showcase Rashad Rayford & Morgan Bosman The 5 Spot (1006 Forrest Ave)
Lovenoise presents a showcase headlining poet Rashad Rayford’s lyricism and singer Morgan Bosman’s deep, soulful melodies complemented by sweet jazz, R&B, and gospel roots. Expect cameos from some of Southern Word’s elder youth poets. 21 and up only. $10
Learn more at www.southernword.org.
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 Ave.). This month, on Saturday, February 10, from 5:30-8:30 p.m., the event will feature Cynthia Ring and be hosted by Christine Hall. The event is free to attend and fills up quickly.
Ciona Rouse, a Poetry in the Brew veteran, will be handling her usual hosting duty this month. Her Writings on the Wall series takes place at Atmalogy (2320 West End Avenue) on the third Thursday, February 15, at 6:30 p.m. The theme of this show will be “Fog.” If you want to be a part of this event by sharing your original poetry (up to three pieces), please write Rouse at email@example.com. You can also venture over to Barnes & Noble at Vanderbilt University (2501 West End Ave.) on Friday, February 23, from 7-8:30 p.m. for another monthly round of Lyrical Brew. Rouse will be celebrating the show’s fifth birthday! Bravo, Ciona!
On Thursday, February 15, from 7-10 p.m., at 415 Harding Place, Po’ Boys & Poets Nashville will host another open mic event that caters to the arts and is organized and hosted by Morgan Christopher and Frank Frizzy Sykes. There is a $5 entry fee and after that, the mic is yours if there is room. Get there early to definitely reserve your spot.
On the following Saturdays of February (3, 10, and 17) at The Curb Center at Vanderbilt (1801 Edgehill Ave.), explore the self through painting and writing with Ashley Mintz. It’s free to participate, but space is limited to 12 attendees per session. All supplies are provided, and the only requirement is a willingness to share who you are. After the end of the project, The Curb Center will host an exhibit showcasing the creative efforts. Get more information by contacting artist Ashley Mintz at firstname.lastname@example.org
If it’s creative writing and poetry that tickle your fancy, you should come out to the Willow Oak Center for Arts & Learning on Saturday, February 3, from 1-4 p.m., to fall into your heart with like-minded writers alongside instructor and East Side Storytellin’ alumnus Patricia Albrecht in a Creative Writing and Poetry Workshop Beyond Imagination. Class fee is $30, for anyone between the ages 16+, and all you have to do is bring your notebook, a pen, and a willingness to share. Don’t be intimidated. There will be seasoned professionals and first-timers, too. Registration is required, so call Patricia to sign up at 615-380-8071.
Tenx9 Nashville Storytelling, hosted by Michael McRay, gives nine people have up to 10 minutes each to tell a real story from their lives. Each month has a theme, and every month is free to attend. On Monday, February 26, from 7:30-9:30 p.m. at Douglas Corner Café on 8th, the theme of the February show will be “Things I Never Told My Parents.”
The Muse’s Mouth’s Female Spoken Word is at it again this month at The Bowery Vault (2905 Gallatin Pike, Suite C). On Wednesday, February 21, from 5-7 p.m., ladies and female identifying readers are asked to come and share their stories, thoughts, poems, words, and their voices. Subject matter and format are open, and the event is free to attend and open to all.
Scarritt Bennett Center hosts its monthly Poet’s Corner series on Thursday, February 22, at 7 p.m. The featured poet for this round of reading will be Deborah Bernhardt. It is free and open to the public.
Barnes & Noble at Vanderbilt University
On Saturday, February 3, from 7-8 p.m., Barnes & Noble (2501 West End Ave.) is calling for all adult singles who are fun and believe finding love in a bookstore is still possible. This laid back mix and mingle book evening will feature Nashville author and entrepreneur, Brent Louis Miller, discussing and signing his humorous book titled 101 Protocols for Online Dating. It will be a great gift for Valentine’s Day, if not advice for friends in need of help this time of year.
On Monday, February 12, from 7-8:30 p.m. at City Winery Nashville (609 Lafayette St.), Nashville Storytellers will host Unusual Roads to Romance. Nashville Storytellers puts remarkable local people on stage to talk honestly about their lives. In this round, The Tennessean will present five stories of modern-day dating and romance. You can find more about tickets here.
Parnassus Books will hit your love for reading mainstream classics like Cupid, per usual. Parnassus Books has dozen of author events each month, in the store and around town as part of the Salon@615 partnership with the Nashville Public Library Foundation. This month’s calendar includes Jim Brown (not the football player), Emily Arrow, Michael Farris Smith, Janet Beard (no relation), and plenty more. On top of regular store hours, on Tuesday, February 6, at 6:30 p.m. at Parnassus Books, the supremely talented Jamie Quatro will be on site to read and sign her most recent treasure by the title of Fire Sermon.
This month, The Porch Writers’ Collective continues to have more workshops than I can keep track of in one post, but you’re one click away from finding whichever one matches your wildest writing desires. Visit the PorchTN.org to discover more details about The Porch and the many workshops it offers.
Beyond cool workshops, The Porch will be hosting their 5th Annual Heartbreak Happy Hour on Sunday, February 11, from 7-9 p.m. at Jackalope Brewing Company (701 8th Avenue South). It is free to attend (donations supporting The Porch will not be turned down). It is a so-called contrarian Valentine’s Day storytelling bonanza with tales of bad romance, awkward dates, and tears in beers. This round of fun will feature stories from the likes of Jeff Zenter, Christy Lynch, John Lavey, Alex Pollack, and Autumn Jones.
Third Man Books
On Monday, February 12, the wonderful Nickole Brown will be at Third Man Books as part of their Re/Verb Podcast Interview with Kendra DeColo and Ciona Rouse. Nickole Brown was once the editorial assistant for the late Hunter S. Thompson, she worked for a bookstore for 10 years (so you know I give her mad props to that), she has published several books, she has taught at several universities, and her work is unforgettable.
East Side Storytellin’
I will again be hosting two East Side Storytellin’ shows in February. East Side Storytellin’ 123, on Tuesday, February 6, at 7 p.m. at The Post (1701 Fatherland St.) features Lisa Dordal & Alayna Renae. Two weeks later, on February 20, at the same venue and time, East Side Storytellin’ 124 will feature KHAOS & Bentley Caldwell. Both events are free and BYOB.
If you can’t get your Lisa Dordal fix at East Side Storytellin’, you should go to Atmalogy on Friday, February 9, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. to celebrate the Lisa Dordal & Rachel Owen Variety Show and Book Release Party. Dordal will be releasing her book Mosaic of the Dark, and Owen will be singing original songs that help explain why some have called her the Cerebral Hipster. It’s free to attend.
On the outskirts of the city limits
Kory Wells and Poetry in the Boro will be hosting a poetry reading and open mic on Sunday, February 11, from 6:30-9 p.m. at Murfreesboro Little Theater (702 Ewing Blvd., Murfreesboro). Featured poets will include Kerri French and TJ Jarrett. Following the featured readings, the open mic will close the night by invited each reader to share one piece of poetry, spoken word, or short prose, none lasting longer than five minutes. The event is free to attend.
I hope to see you at everything above, especially all of the events involving East Side Storytellin’ and everything else promoting more love than hate this month. If I don’t, I hope to see you again on this blog before St. Patrick’s Day. Until then, I hope you have a great month ahead. Remember to be nice to one another out there.
Ed. Note. Beard on Books is survey of events. For a comprehensive list of upcoming literary events, be sure to check the Arts > Literary section at NowPlayingNashville.com.