Welcome back to the Beard on Books January 2019 Literary Edition. The year 2019 is already off to the races, jam-packed with as many quality things to do and people to see as a Kentucky Derby. If the January events in this post give any indication for the year, we are about to experience, 2019 is going to be one of our most fun and productive years to date. So let’s not waste time here. Below is a snapshot for some of the wonderful opportunities for you to make happen all things literary around Nashville this month.
To start things off just right, I’m skipping the 2-for-Tuesday line and giving you three quality events from the same organization that are must-see this month. I’m talking about The Free Nashville Poetry Library.
- On Sunday, January 6, from 7pm-8:30pm, The Free Nashville Poetry Library is hosting “Writer’s Gym” at The Packing Plant (507 Hagan St.). The Writer’s Gym is a time and place to exercise your writing skills, and you don’t need to consider yourself a writer. The writing session will last about 90 minutes, feature unique prompts to respond to or give you time and a space to do your own thing entirely. It’s your gym. Journals and pens will be available for use, or you can bring your own notebooks, journals, and laptops. Beer is provided by Jackalope Brewing Co. for adults of legal drinking age, and the event is absolutely free to all (donations greatly appreciated).
- On Sunday, Jan. 13, at 1pm, The Free Nashville Poetry Library is hosting “Rae Day!” at The Packing Plant (507 Hagan St.). This event will be a celebration of live readings (covers) of Rae Armantrout poems by several Nashville poets, performances of poems written in response to Rae’s poetry, a discussion of her work, a presentation of reading performances by national poets for “Rae Day!”, plus a book giveaway. (Everyone receives a free copy of her most recent book, while supplies last.) Live readers will feature Nathan Spoon, Meagen Crawford, J. Joseph Kane, Joshua Moore, and Amy Wright. The event is free to attend, and donations are welcome.
- On Sunday, Jan. 20, at 8pm, The Free Nashville Poetry Library will be hosting a poetry and live sound event that explores the connections between field recordings, experimental music, and poetry. Tennessee multimedia artists Linda Heck and Eve Maret will be joined by poet and sound artist Haydyn Marina Jackson. This event is free to attend, located at the home base of The Packing Plant (507 Hagan St.), and all donations are greatly appreciated.
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, Jan. 12, from 5:30pm-8:30pm, open-mic sign-up is at 5:30pm, and readings start at 6pm sharp. The host for this event will be the legendary Christine Hall, and the January featured poet is Owen Flanagan. The event is free to attend and fills up quickly.
Tenx9 Nashville Storytelling, hosted by Michael T. 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. It’s on Monday, Jan. 28, from 7:30pm-9:30pm at Douglas Corner Café. The theme of this show is “The First Time.”
On Wednesday, January 23, from 7pm-9pm, at Barnes & Noble at Vanderbilt University (2501 West End Ave.), Third Man Books is hosting a night of amazing writers. A Nashville legend in her own right, Betsy Phillips is the featured guest and will bring four other talented authors to read, discuss, and sign their books. Third Man Books is extremely excited to get Betsy Phillips, Ciona Rouse, Dan Hoy, Carlina Duan, and John Shakespear together. This will be free to attend and an epic event you don’t want to miss.
Scarritt Bennett Center
The Scarritt Bennett Center (1027 18th Avenue South) will again host its monthly Poet’s Corner Series on Thursday, Jan. 24, at 7pm. The featured poet for this round of reading will be S T Kimbrough Jr.
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 of Bill Ivey, Holly Black, Bill Brown, Kristin Russell, Dani Shapiro, and many more. To spotlight the Kristin Russell event, which will take place in store (3900 Hillsboro Pike, Suite 14) on Friday, Jan. 18 at 6:30pm, she will be debuting her most recent novel, “A Sky For Us Alone.” This event is free to attend.
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. Every event and workshop they do tends to sell out quickly, so be sure to stay informed, like their pages on social media, and follow their calendars to sign up for everything while you can.
The Bookshop (1043 W. Eastland Ave.) will continue to host a weekly Saturday Storytime at Her Bookshop every Saturday at 10am for the month of January. Every reading is special, free to attend, and cool for all ages.
East Side Storytellin’
I will again be hosting only one East Side Storytellin’ show in January. On Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019, we will be hosting East Side Storytellin’ 145, at 7pm at The Post (1701 Fatherland St.). It will be Tom, Tommy, and me. Specifically, we will be featuring Tommy Womack and Tom Mason! The event is free to attend and BYOB.
On the outskirts of the city limits
On Sunday, January 13, at Murfreesboro Little Theatre (702 Ewing Blvd, near MTSU), at 7pm, Poetry in the Boro and host Kory Wells are going to feature poets Andrea Spofford and Frank “Frizzy” Sykes. Doors open at 6:30pm, with the features starting at 7pm, and there’s time to mingle and purchase books before the open-mic time begins. Spoken word, short prose, and poetry is acceptable, but you have to get there to sign up to share your single piece. If your piece is over four minutes long to read, please speak to the hosts to see if they can accommodate that. You can find out more information about Poetry in the Boro here.
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 Valentine’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 a survey of events. For a comprehensive list of upcoming literary events, be sure to check the Arts > Literary section at NowPlayingNashville.com.