Photo: Tomato Art Fest

Beard on Books | August 2017 Nashville Literary Happenings

Hello and welcome back to Beard on Books! Before I get to anything else, I have a personal obligation to inform you about The 2017 Tomato Art Fest. This year marks the 14th annual edition…

Hello and welcome back to Beard on Books! Before I get to anything else, I have a personal obligation to inform you about The 2017 Tomato Art Fest. This year marks the 14th annual edition of the festival — a multi-day celebration that welcomes everyone to East Nashville for a fun and wacky time filled with art, music, food, costumes, contests, shopping, kid activities, wordplay galore and more. You can check out the full list of everything Tomato Art Fest on its site, but here’s a few of the literary-related events I’m excited about.

  • Wednesday, August 9, 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. – Tomato Story Time at The Inglewood Library
  • Saturday, August 12, 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. – Super Science Spectacular Kids Program w/ Nashville Public Library’s East Branch
  • Saturday, August 12, 11 a.m  – 11:30 a.m. – Tomato Fairy/Elf Contest outside of Fairytales Bookstore
  • Saturday, August 12, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.- Tomato Art Fest Haiku Contest at the Contest Stage
  • Saturday, August 12, 1:15 p.m.- 3:00 p.m.- Recipe Contest at the Contest Stage

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 Avenue). This month, on Saturday, August 12, from 5:30-8:30 p.m., the event will feature Caroline Randall Williams. The event is free to attend and fills up quickly. Ciona Rouse, fresh off the release of her new chapbook with Third Man Books, hosts her usual two events this month. Writings on the Wall take place at Atmalogy (2320 West End Avenue) on the third Thursday, August 17, at 6:30 p.m. If you want to know about this month’s theme (“Again”) or be a part of this event by sharing your original poetry (up to 3 pieces), write Rouse at On Friday, August 25, at 7 p.m, at Barnes & Noble at Vanderbilt University (2501 West End Avenue), Rouse hosts Lyrical Brew. For more information about Lyrical Brew and who will be featured, keep tabs on Facebook. 

More Poetry Events

et al mattjohnstone
et al poetry

Matt Johnstone hosts a special edition of Et Al. Poetry this month on Friday, August 18, at Sauvage (1114b 3rd Avenue South) from 8 p.m-11:30 p.m. Matt has teamed up with Vegetarian Alcoholic Press (based out of Milwaukee) to release his newest chapbook,“Eater, of mouths.” On top of the big release and reading by Johnstone, several other poets will be reading, making for a sort of Nashville poetry sampler: Meg Wade, Ciona Rouse, Eric Benick, Richard Harper, Thomas Macfie, Courtney Brown, and Meagen Crawford will read original poetry that engages an essential theme in Johnstone’s chapbook. The readings and music are free, but there is a full bar to accommodate the spirits. You also get a free drink (with ID) with a book purchase.

On Friday, August 11, from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m., Poetry in the Boro celebrates its one-year anniversary with local poets giving 10-minute readings every half hour during the Boro Art Crawl. Located at Let’s Make Wine (109 E. Main Street, Murfreesboro). There will be featured music and art all around, with original work from Terry Price, Leigh Anne Couch, Jeff Hardin, Amie Whittemore, Sandy Coomer, Lagnajita Mukhopadhyay, Chance Chambers, Walker Bass, Nick Bush, Nathan Spoon, Kory Wells, and more! Find out more information about Poetry on the Boro and the Boro Art Crawl on Facebook.

The Global Education Center Studio at Casa Azafran (2195 Nolensville Pike) hosts Walking in Rhythm on Saturday, August 26, from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. The workshop and reading is chance for you to share your poems, songs, and reflections about walking, cycling, driving, bus travel, crosswalks, traffic lights and community. It will be a full-on community poetry reading & open mic. You can find more information about the event on Facebook.

Tenx9 Nashville Storytelling, hosted by Michael McRay, gives nine people have up to ten minutes each to tell a real story from their lives. Each month has a theme, and every month is free to attend. This month’s show on Monday, August 28 at 6 pm. at Douglas Corner is extra special because McRay is teaming up with The Porch and Parnassus on theme of “August.” This is important because words are important.

Scarritt Bennett Center hosts its monthly Poet’s Corner series on Thursday, August 24, at 7 p.m. The featured poet for this round of reading will be Jeff Hardin. It is free and open to the public.

Parnassus and Salon@615

Parnassus has dozen of author events each month, in the store and around town. This month’s calendar includes Christopher Swann, Matt Walker & Zeneba Bowers, Courtney Stevens, Ann Powers, and more. See the complete list at

The Porch

The Porch Writers’ Collective has more workshops than I can keep track of in one post, so I suggest strongly that you visit the Porch’s web site to discover more details about the many workshops it offers. One that all writers should know about is The Art of the Query. On Sunday, August 27, at Refinery Nashville, from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m., Annie Hwang of Folio Literary Management will instruct everyone about the process and importance of a solid query letter to get your work one step closer to being published.

East Side Storytellin’

I will again be hosting two East Side Storytellin’ shows in August. East Side Storytellin’ 112, on Tuesday, August 1, at 7 p.m. at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) features Eric Benick and Kira Hooks. Two weeks later, on August 15, at the same venue and time, East Side Storytellin’ 113 will feature Christina Stoddard and Mary Bragg. Both events are free and BYOB.

I hope to see you at everything above, especially at East Side Storytellin’ (wink, wink). If I don’t, I hope to see you again on this blog before my wedding anniversary on September 9. 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