Welcome back to the Beard on Books April 2019 Literary Edition.
The pollen, like winter, is coming. Thankfully for Nashville, so are all of the fun literary events this month as well. I’ve never heard of anyone being allergic to good literature, so you are in luck. Below is a solid snapshot of some of the most fun to be had in Nashville with the local literature scene for this April. Also, don’t forget to make a note that Saturday, April 27 is Independent Bookstore Day 2019. You can’t go wrong as long as you find yourself as a patron in any bookstore in Nashville. But I can personally say that the smaller names on the east side of town would REALLY appreciate your time and patronage, since every Saturday (and every day they are open) truly is Independent Bookstore Day. It takes a village to have good things, good people.
To start things off, look no farther than the Nashville Independent Poetry Fest. Celebrating the national poetry month to the fullest, leave it to Matt Johnstone to pull together the brightest and stars in the Nashville poetry universe for one grand ole time. On Sunday, April 14, at 109 S 11th Street (in the heart of Five Points in East Nashville), the party will be going on from 11am-8pm. During that party time, look forward to a free day of poetic enlightenment for all ages. It will be pet-friendly, with plenty of food trucks and adult beverages surrounding the grounds. There will be live performances starting at 2pm with Kory Wells, Nathan Spoon, Frank “Frizzy” Sykes, Destiny O. Birdsong, Christine Hall, and many others. Tons of local organizations will be on hand, such as Global Education Center, the Porch Writer’s Collective, Third Man Records & Books, Extended Play Press, the Parnassus bookmobile, and more. There will also be face painting and lit-themed temporary tattoos for the young scribes, and there will be poems on demand and even a magnetic poetry contest, too. With live poetry from 2pm-sunset and the daylong party, this is a one-stop, magical poetry tour de force that you shouldn’t miss. If you want more information (and VIP tickets that include a festival T-shirt, free unlimited drinks, food, gifts, and free services and products from the various sponsors), please visit www.nashvillepoetryfestival.com.
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, April 13, from 5:30pm-8:30pm, open mic signup is at 5:30pm, and readings start at 6pm sharp. The host for this event will be the legendary Christine Hall, and the April featured poet is Leslie Garcia. The event is free to attend and fills up quickly.
Tenx9 Nashville Storytelling, hosted by Michael T. McRay, gives nine people 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, April 22, from 7:30pm-9:30pm, at Douglas Corner Café, the theme of the April show is Travel.
Po’Boys & Poets are back at it again with another fantastic open mic session. On Friday, April 12, at The Dream Fulfillment Center, INC. (1801 Jefferson St., #201), from 7pm-10:30pm, the open mic will take place alongside a featured performance by Spoke N Words. Sign up is at 7pm, and there is a $5 cover fee to attend. You can follow Po’Boys & Poets on IG at @Pbnpnash, and you can find tickets to this event at this link.
Flatrock Poetry Open Mic is back again, too. On Saturday, April 27, from 2:30-5 pm, at Flatrock Coffee, Tea & More (2640C Nolensville Pike), Amy Jackson will host another round of open mic that will be well worth your time and experience. All languages welcome, I’m excited to share that the feature for April will be the East Side Storytellin’ alumnus Henry L. Jones.
PoemoftheWeek.com is launching a series called Writers in Conversation. Led by poet and Nashville native, Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum, WIC is PoemoftheWeek.com’s signature event, promoting writers and writing of all genres, from poetry to songwriting to film to journalism to TV. Each episode opens with a performance by the guest writer, followed by an interview with Andrew that probes the writer’s life, their work, and the tools of their trade. The inaugural event will take place on Tuesday, April 16, from 7pm-8:30pm at the Darkhorse Theater in Sylvan Park, and it will feature none other than the great Bill Brown. Open to all ages, there is a $10 cover at the door, and you can find more information about tickets at this link.
Ciona Rouse is back at her regular routine of hosting her amazing series Lyrical Brew. This month will feature first-year poets and fiction candidates from the Vanderbilt University Creative Writing MFA Program. It will go down on Friday, April 26, from 7pm-8:15pm at Barnes & Noble at Vanderbilt University (2501 West End Ave.).
Scarritt Bennett Center
The Scarritt Bennett Center (1027 18th Avenue South) will again host its monthly Storylines series. Storylines is the Scarritt Bennett Women’s Club which meets the 2nd Monday of each month in Fondren Hall, from 7pm-8:15pm. Women of all ages, faiths, and ethnicity are invited to become members of the book club. The club provides a unique opportunity to meet new people, enrich your reading experience, and expand your perspectives. Lively conversation and fellowship are guaranteed. April’s round will be on Monday, April 8, featuring An American Marriage by Tayaie Jones.
Parnassus Books will be bringing some big-name authors from out of town to your back porch, per usual. Parnassus Books has dozen of author events each month, in the store and around town. This month’s calendar includes store appearances and readings by the likes Emily A. Duncan, Heather Helton, Ruth Reichl, Mary Norris, and more. Parnassus is paring up again with Salon@615 to put on a special event with Kwame Alexander at Lipscomb’s Collins Auditorium on Tuesday, April 23rd, at 6:15pm.
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. One special event that you really need to be aware of this month involving The Porch is the Slow Food + Slow Writing Write-In. On Sunday, April 14, from 11am-1pm, at Diskin Cider (1235 Martin St.), The Porch and Slow Food Middle Tennessee are joining forces to host this FREE event. Enjoy a complimentary snack from Diskin Cider, or order something from their brunch while you’re there. While present, there will be fun, open-ended writing prompts to get the creative juices flowing. While an RSVP is not required, it’s encouraged so they know how much food to prepare. You can find more information about this event at this link.
The Bookshop (1043 West Eastland Avenue) will continue to host its weekly Saturday Storytime at The Bookshop every Saturday, at 10am, for the month of April. Every reading is special, but on Sunday, April 7, from 4:30pm-5:30pm, The Bookshop will be hosting a poetry reading featuring Patrick DeGuira, Jana Harper, and Nathan Spoon. This specific reading is in conjunction with “Land Derived Sentiments: Poems and Responses,” an exhibition currently showing at Zeitgeist Gallery. Then, on Friday, April 19, from 6pm-7:30pm, The Bookshop will host another special Storytime for Grownups. Three featured readers will read from three different books for fifteen minutes with a centralized theme. This month’s theme is Sense of Place. The books won’t be revealed until the event, but all will evoke a distinct sense of place and/or time. It’s free, plus, you know, wine!
East Side Storytellin’
I will again be hosting two East Side Storytellin’ shows in April. East Side Storytellin’ 150, on Tuesday, April 2, at 7pm at The Post (1701 Fatherland St.) features Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum and Emily Justin. Two weeks later, April 16, at the same venue and time, East Side Storytellin’ 151 will feature Phillip Jones and Stuffy Shmitt. Both events are free and BYOB.
On Wednesday, April 17, from 7pm-10pm at Analog at Hutton Hotel (1808 West End Avenue), Native magazine will be hosting quite the Lit Party. With free entry, drink specials, and a photo booth, what else could they add to entice you to make an appearance? Well, try adding to this mix the fact that they have invited writers from Be Witched, Southern Word, The Porch Writers’ Collective, The Regenerates, and Third Man Books to hang out and talk local literature. That, my friends, is an event you should take out your journals and jot notes about.
Something else for all the kids
On Saturday, April 13, Kidsville Honey Bunny Festival is happing at Centennial Park (2500 West End Ave.). From 10am-3pm, let this be the April festival sandwich or bookend of this blog edition. Hosted by Kidsville, there will be free spring fun featuring bunnies, bees, and lots of enriching activities for the entire family. Not only will there be a bunny petting zoo, photos with the Easter Bunny, bee and bunny crafts, and a busy bee play area, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library will be on site as well. I’m not saying Dolly Parton will be there, but word on the street is that Elmo from Sesame Street will be. Bring all your Sesame Street and Dolly Parton Imagination Library books out for autographs.
On the outskirts of town
Murfreesboro Poet Laureate Kory Wells and actress/director Jamie Stevens are joining forces to offer the workshop “Staging the Page: Cultivating Your Poetic Voice” on Saturday, April 27, at Murfreesboro Little Theatre. A two-hour session from 11am-1pm will help participants determine how they can make the most of a poem they submit how they can make the most of a poem they submit anywhere. Optional activities include a group lunch break (separate cost) from 1pm-2:30pm and rehearsal time with the workshop leaders from 2:30pm-4pm. A minimum of $25 donation is requested and will benefit Poetry in the Boro and Murfreesboro Little Theatre.
Also, on Saturday, April 27, Humble Universe Disturbers Used Books & More (110 Franklin Street, Clarksville, TN), will be hosting poet and actor Julian Walker from 6pm-8pm. He will be reading and discussing his new book, A Year Without You.
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 before the May flowers bloom. 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 a survey of events. For a comprehensive list of upcoming literary events, be sure to check the Arts > Literary section at NowPlayingNashville.com.