Poetry Month in Nashville: Go see Eavan Boland, Kendra DeColo and more


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This unfortunate day of look-at-me-I'm-a-"funny"-liar pranks — or, as it's known in my family, the day my dad proposed to my mom in the middle of telling her the car had stalled on some tracks and been hit by a train — also marks the beginning of National Poetry Month, which does not suck at all.

Poetry Sucks! (the live poetry-and-music series, that is) remains on sabbatical so that creator Chet Weise can continue working the promotional junket for Third Man Books' debut anthology Language Lessons: Volume 1, which he helped edit. He/they/it will be in Iowa City this Saturday, along with rock bands, for the Mission Creek Festival, if you're looking for a literary-minded road trip or a reason to visit Iowa.

Interested in attending a poetry reading but nervous about how to conduct yourself as verse rules everything around you? Consult this guide and fear not.

As it happens, March was a pretty good month for poetry events in Nashville, but the cruelest and most officially poetic month brings more, featuring both locals and fly-in luminaries. Might as well ...

Tuesday, April 8
Kendra DeColo
DeColo — who will be reading at Third Man's Iowa City event — has been busy lately in support of her book, Thieves in the Afterlife, which we've already told you about here on CL (tldr; it's excellent, Yusef Komunyakaa-selected, full of swears and adorned with a cover painted by Harmony Korine). She'll be reading at 5 p.m. at Leu Art Gallery (Library), Belmont University.

Thursday, April 10
Eavan Boland
Probably the biggest name on the April slate, and one you don't want to miss. Boland has published 10 volumes of poetry, among them Domestic Violence and An Origin Like Water: Collected Poems 1967-87 (W.W. Norton). She has received the Lannan Award and many others. Here, go read "Domestic Violence. " Boland will be reading at 7 p.m. at 102 Buttrick Hall, Vanderbilt University; free.

Thursday, April 24
Poet's Corner Featuring Sarah Neal
Part of the ongoing Poet's Corner series, this reading features Sarah Neal, who has poems in or forthcoming in North American Review, Anthem Journal and many others. She lives in Columbia, Tenn., where she runs a creative workshop for mental health patients, and her blog name, Diving Into the Wreck, comes from Adrienne Rich. 7 p.m. at Scarritt-Bennett Center; free.

Saturday, April 26
Mid South Grand Slam Final — High School
Miss the semi-final in March? The spoken-word competition, presented by local collective Southern Word, comes to its fiery conclusion on this night, 7:30 p.m. at Poag Auditorium, Tennessee State University. Admission is $10, or $5 for those 22 and under.

And all month, all over Nashville's Amp monorail buses, keep an eye out for Poetry in Motion, featuring the work of local school students selected by Metro Arts. More info here, winning poems here.

And this seems like as good a time as any to remind you all that we have Vanderbilt professor Beth Bachmann's Do Not Rise to look forward to next year. In the mean time, if you know of any other poetry-related events going on this month let us know, and we'll do the same.


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