Literature Spotlight: Bobby’s Idle Hour Reading Series

Four writers, five minutes each, four times a year.

That’s the magic formula behind The Idle Hour Reading Series, which is run by The Porch, Nashville’s literary arts center, and staged at Bobby’s Idle Hour Tavern, one of the last-standing OG dive bars in the city. The series spotlights local writers—typically with a fifty-fifty split between prose writers and poets—but every so often, we hand over a slot to an author coming through town on book tour. That’s true this month, as erstwhile Nashvillian J. Peter Moore, of Indiana, will be joining our three locals: Casey Boyd (who runs the all-women series The Muse’s Mouth), Sarah Key, and Olatunde Osinaike. Their work is featured in the next few pages.

The Idle Hour is a hand-me-down event: It began as Band of Poets, a monthly series curated by then-Vanderbilt-MFA-student Rita Bullwinkel. When Bullwinkel moved to San Francisco, she handed the keys over to The Porch—and we’ve carried on the readings since, just in a less-frequent format. (We not-so-secretly hope Rita will come back to read in the series once her debut collection of stories, Belly Up, is released next month by A Strange Object.)

I love the Idle Hour readings for their brevity and punch—you get four quick shots of diverse writers’ voices in just about the time it takes to drink a beer or two. Then we’re all off to wherever the rest of our evenings may take us. Is it just enough to make you feel like a literary citizen? I say yes.

—Susannah Felts

The next Idle Hour Reading Series is April 20 at Bobby’s Idle Hour. Readings start at 7 p.m. If you’re interested in reading at the series, contact [email protected]

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