Happy Black History Month, which is every month, since Black history is History, as revered Nashville poet K H A O S recently reminded me. This month especially we have much to recognize, learn, and appreciate, in spite of efforts to suppress historically accurate education. There are living legends in our midst, storytellers who participated in momentous civil rights demonstrations, sharing the truth of their vision and insights through their artistry, continuing the work through their activism to this day. Beloved community leader K H A O S is one such figure, and we have the opportunity to listen to him at this month’s Poetry in the Brew.
Portland Brew East
1921 Eastland Avenue
Nashville, TN 37206
Sign-up at 4:30pm
Reading starts at 5:00pm
Choose any spot on the list in the loft. Each person on the signup gets 5 minutes max on the open mic.
Please wear your mask unless you’re enjoying food or drink from Portland Brew East, or speaking on the mic. We’ll have alcohol wipes on hand. Respect physical distancing, and establish consent before contact.
Thanks to Patrick and the Portland Brew East crew who stay open late for us. Tip them in cash. Donate to Poetry in the Brew through Paypal @poetryinthebrew, Venmo @ChristineRaquel, or Cash App $PitBNash.
February Feature K H A O S
The poet K H A O S is a mixture of old school griot and modern day storyteller. An oral historian, writer, actor, teacher, mentor, and political activist in Nashville, Tennessee, K H A O S is a board member of Gideon’s Army for the Defense of Children.
Raised in Nashville, K H A O S attended both Catholic and public schools there—St Vincent de Paul and Father Ryan on the Catholic side, Pearl High on the public school side. He served in the Army in Vietnam from 1964 until 1968. Upon his return, he attended Columbia State College and Tennessee State University. K H A O S worked at various occupations involving nonprofits connected to youth development and accessing public assistance for a disenfranchised populace. He also started and ran a construction cleanup company for over 20 years, employing and teaching trades to hardcore unemployed minorities. K H A O S started writing and sharing his poetry as a means of venting and working his way through demons haunting him in the aftermath of Vietnam. He has been associated with music and performing artists since high school, including a stint as a mentor, oral historian and storyteller at the now defunct Village Cultural Arts Center. In 2015 he was awarded an honor as an unsung hero for public service in poetry by MTSU.
In K H A O S, we are met head on with a mixture of old school logic and futuristic prophecy. He strives to merge the experience of his age and generation with a freshness and modern day outlook on current events and their cause and effect upon today’s society.
This Sunday, February 6, visit the Parthenon in Centennial Park from 1:30 – 3:30pm for Ekphratic Poetry Day. Meet artist Henry L. Jones, view his exhibition Kindred Links by Omari Booker and Henry L. Jones, listen to music by Dream 7 Singers, and be inspired to write ekphratic poetry!
Kindred Links: Omari Booker and Henry L. Jones is a interactive display of art, videos, and conceptual sculpture that continues to connect with many museum guests. The exhibit is open through February 13, with a closing reception on February 10 at 6pm. This free public closing reception will include a gallery talk by the artists to begin at 7pm.
Poet and Sinew contributor Dr. Destiny O. Birdsong’s heralded first novel Nobody’s Magic is coming February 8, and Parnassus Books hosts the celebration at 6:30pm. Dr. Birdsong’s conversation with Stephanie Pruitt Gaines will stream on Parnassus’ Facebook page and YouTube channel.
Destiny O. Birdsong’s writing has appeared in The Paris Review Daily, African American Review, and Catapult, among other publications. She has received the Academy of American Poets Prize and the Richard G. Peterson Poetry Prize. Her critically‑acclaimed debut collection of poems, Negotiations, was longlisted for the 2021 PEN/Voelcker Award and published by Tin House Books.
Contact Poetry in the Brew host Christine Hall: firstname.lastname@example.org