Welcome to February, the month of Love. We have some of the sweetest events around town this month, all revolving around local literature. If you’re still searching for that special one, keep reading. I’m certain you’ll find your match.
Black History House
With Nashville’s rich tradition of African American history, it makes it the perfect place to celebrate Black History Month. One of the most significant events is Black History House, presented by Southern Word and hosted by Rashad tha Poet and DJ Vu Reggaerica at the East Branch Library (206 Gallatin Road) on Saturday, February 6 at 2 p.m. Every February, people pack the basement of the Library to hear some of Nashville’s top writers side by side with some of Nashville’s newest poetic voices. Fans of Southern Word shows know this is where you get to catch tomorrow’s favorites before they are today’s news. The Freestyle Gallery, which ends the event, has become a rite of passage for up and coming emcees. This event is free and open to all ages. Pizza will be served. Come early for a good seat as this show has been standing room only for the past four years.
Mary Karr and Rodney Crowell
The Porch Writers’ Collective is having a second birthday party of sorts. You know, the kind of birthday party where you bring gifts in the form of donations and then in return you hear some of the best stories and songs for that night. On February 6, from 6:30-10 p.m. at Green Door Gourmet (7011 River Road Pike), The Porch presents Kinship: An Evening with memoirist Mary Karr and singer-songwriter and author Rodney Crowell as they share their stories and songs. VIP tickets include a meet-and-greet reception before the show with wine, beer, a signature cocktail and heavy hors d’oeuvres. The stellar duo will perform and offer you an incredible night of world-class literature and music in support of Nashville’s one-and-only center for creative writing. You can get tickets here.
Salon@615, East Side Storytellin’ and More Literary Events
On February 24, at the appropriate time of 6:15 p.m. at the Main Nashville Public Library, Salon@615 welcomes the #1 New York Times bestselling author with more than 170 million copies of her books in print worldwide, Debbie Macomber. She will be reading from her recent book, A Girl’s Guide to Moving On. Admission is free plus the $2.50 online ticket fee if purchased in advance. You may want to get your tickets in advance because there are only approximately 100 auditorium tickets available on-site on the day of the event.
The round of amazing Nashvillian Rita Bullwinkel’s monthly reading series, Band of Poets, will be Tuesday, February 23 at 9 p.m. at Bobby’s Idle Hour (1028 16th Avenue South). It will feature several readers with the guest of honor being Montana fiction writer Maria Anderson, who is making a special trip to Nashville for the reading. Also, this Band of Poets will be recorded by drDoctor, a literary podcast. It is free to attend so bring a friend.
If it’s free cultural date nights that you want, I have two that will put your and Valentine’s hearts at ease. Consistent with the last three plus years, I will yet again be hosting two East Side Storytellin’ shows in February. The first, East Side Storytellin’ 76, will feature Kate Parrish and Sarah Carter, both current students at the Sewanee School of Letters program at The University of the South. The last time we had a Sewanee-influenced show we had Amanda Shires and Jason Isbell play music together after Kevin Wilson. The show, on Tuesday, February 2 at 7 p.m. at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street), will be a blue Valentine-themed show, so bring your tissues. Two weeks later, on February 16, at the same venue and time, I will host East Side Storytellin’ 77 with the legendary poet Bill Brown and the talented Darrin Bradbury. Both events are free and BYOB. I’m not sure your heart can take all of this local sweetness, but I’m willing to show up and try if you are.
New This Month: Tonya Lewis has allowed me to try something new this month – the first episode in a series I’m calling “For the Love of Writing.” On the way home from visiting a friend in Florida the same weekend of the Paris attacks, I was overwhelmed with the positive feedback on social media from friends telling other friends to remember to tell those you love that you love them while you have the chance. So I am. For the Love of Writing will be a special night where we invite an honored local literary figure to sit and listen as a handful of other friends, colleagues, and students of the honored guest share personal tributes and stories and original creative writing pieces that were inspired by their relationship with the honored guest of the night. The first For the Love of Writing will honor the aforementioned Bill Brown at The Post on Sunday, February 28 at 5 p.m. It is free to attend and you may or may not want to bring some tissues (for tears and notes for inspiration to tell your friends you love them too).
I as tell you every month, don’t forget about Poetry in the Brew, the open mic series with featured guests every second Saturday of the month at Portland Brew East (1921 Eastland Avenue). On Saturday, February 13 from 5:30-8:30 p.m., Chance Chambers will be reading while several other talented friends back him with music. You’re in for an even bigger treat than Chance’s words, which are always a treat themselves. It’s free to attend and the space fills up quickly.
I hope all of the above helps you have one of the most productive and enlightening months of love 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 March, but I hope you have a great day, week, month, and year 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.