Nashville’s Second Saturday Open Mic Poetry Reading
Portland Brew East
1921 Eastland Avenue
Nashville, TN 37206
Sign-up at 5:30
Reading starts at 6:00
This month, Poetry in the Brew features poet Amanda Gayle Oliver and guest host Jason Tomlinson.
August Feature Amanda Gayle Oliver
Amanda Gayle Oliver (Hendricks) was first published in the Birmingham News at the age of 16. She is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (BA in Literature and Creative Writing). Most recently she was published in Calliope Arts Magazine, San Diego Poetry Annual, Torrid Literary Journal, and for Steady Moon Press. Her work has also appeared in various other literary journals. Amanda had a play staged this summer by Nashville’s Ten Minute Playground and is working on upcoming projects under her You Are Poetry project. Her poetry and prose concentrate on taking what the world sees as ugly and making it beautiful, giving a voice to the voiceless, and honest human connection. She constantly craves Mexican food, never misses a chance to twinkle her toes in the nearest body of water, and dreams of reading in a hammock in Taos, New Mexico. She currently snuggles with her husband in Old Hickory, TN, where she’s happiest reading Star Trek: The Next Generation fanfiction or dancing under Jefferson Street Bridge on a Tuesday night.
August Guest Host Jason Tomlinson
In the fall of 1993 I lived in Burton, Michigan, where I was a 15-year-old sophomore at Valley Christian Academy. Around that time I had joined the staff of Word Up, a section of the Flint Journal that appeared every Sunday. At Word Up students were encouraged to submit all sorts of articles and write-ups including poetry. The creative atmosphere among the Word Up writers was just the sort that was ideal for me to write my first poem. So, one day in biology, I cranked out my first, “Outcast’s Cry.” It was instant satisfaction and I’ve never looked back.
In the fall of 1996 I was a freshman at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee. I discovered The Owl’s Nest, a coffee shop on 22nd. They had a monthly poetry open mic and I went to the first one I could. Once again, the satisfaction I felt rhyming in front of people was complete. I went as often as I could and enjoyed the encouragement and camaraderie of the other poets there who amazed me on a regular basis.
In the fall of 2001 I was a Junior at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. Leah and I had been married a little more than a year and life was really, really good. We had purchased our first desktop computer and soon after I picked a loop-based music program called Acid Music by Sonic Foundry. I had the idea of making a spoken word album with experimental background music. In late 2001, I produced my first album, I’m Doing Something Different Tonight. Making the album was a delight and with its creation I began to pursue regular gigs at schools, churches, camps, coffee shops and bars. During this time I discovered the Little Rock Poetry Slam, which was one of the most important tools that shaped me as a young aspiring spoken word artist. The atmosphere was both hostile and nurturing and I will never forget some of the words I heard and people I met while there.
In the fall of 2010 I had ultimately given up on the idea of being a career spoken word artist. Many things contributed to this, some good, some bad, but I was mistaken. Though I may never make much money writing and performing I will never be done and that’s a comforting and empowering thought. In August of 2010 I competed in Community’s Got Talent at the Community Church of Hendersonville. I used my old favorite stand-by, “Alliterate Adoration,” and in the middle of being on stage something came alive inside me that had not been stirred for years.
Now, as a husband, father and middle school teacher, I am tempted to believe that I don’t have time for poetry but these three roles that God has given me serve to spur on my creativity as strong as it has ever been. I reckon I’ll keep on writing, rhyming, recording and performing.