Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Guiding Us Through Grief

With gratitude for Edward Hirsch and his expansive body of work

With over 2.7 million lives lost worldwide in just one year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic — nearly 550,000 in the United States alone — there are few poets whose work is more suited to guide us through this overwhelming grief than Edward Hirsch, who has said, “We need poetry to help us transform the oceanic depths of feeling into art.” Hirsch will appear at a virtual event hosted by Vanderbilt University on April 8.

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Power in the Word

Southern Word connects young people to their voices, each other

Students and recent alumni of Southern Word have published books, produced music, given TEDx Talks, been featured on national broadcasts and in newspapers like The New York Times, and even received invitations from Michelle Obama to visit the White House for a student poetry celebration. Southern Word will host the annual BlackLift Poetry House, held online February 20.

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You’re Gonna Talk about This Chicken

Book Excerpt: Hot, Hot Chicken: A Nashville Story

Rachel Louise Martin’s Hot, Hot Chicken: A Nashville Story recounts the story of hot chicken and what the dish’s growing popularity reveals about race relations in a changing city. Hot, Hot Chicken will be published by Vanderbilt University Press in March 2021.

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What We’ll Miss and What We’ll Share

The meaning of the Southern Festival of Books in a season of loss

We often conceive of loss only as a falling away, but it is also a binding. Think of the groups whose only purpose is to bring together people who have lost the same thing.

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Following the Story Wherever It Goes

After three decades in children’s books, acclaimed author-illustrator David Wiesner is still eager to innovate

David Wiesner talks to Chapter 16 about his newest picture book, Robobaby, and returning to the Southern Festival of Books after nearly 30 years. Wiesner will appear at the 2020 Southern Festival of Books, held online October 1-11.

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The Glorious Pastime: Alan Gratz

Bestselling kids’ author Alan Gratz talks about his love of detective novels and a book that surprised him

Knoxville native Alan Gratz takes on tough subjects in his fiction for young readers, as in his 2019 novel, Allies, set during World War II. Resist, a companion novella to Allies, will be released as an ebook and audiobook in September. In response to our Glorious Pastime questionnaire, Gratz tells Chapter 16 what he’s been reading lately and recommends an underappreciated book series.  

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