Versify #35: Beyond A Four-Walled Hustle

For artist, influencer and activist Thaxton Waters, the roots of his artistic practice began with a suspicion of history. An unease about the stories around the community he was born into. And that sense of questioning spurred Thaxton toward a career of unearthing untold histories — through art. Thaxton speaks with Versify host Joshua Moore about the process of interrogating history through art: how the dual legacies of education and art making he inherited from his parents have shaped his practice, and how he persists in his commitment to storytelling, in the midst of a city that seems intent on leaving people like him behind. Then Joshua takes the narrative tiles of Thaxton’s life and shapes them into poetry.  (more…)

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Versify #34: Little Boxes All The Same

Demetria Kalodimos is something of a Nashville institution, anchoring the Channel 4 news desk since she first arrived in Music City in 1984. But 30-plus years into her career, Demetria was unprepared to have her decades of dedicated news coverage cut short. Demetria speaks with poet Lagnajita Mukhopadhaya about her enduring commitment to the power of journalistic storytelling, how she coped with closing the book on more than three decades as a news reporter, and how revisiting family narratives is helping Demetria to write her next chapter. Then Lagnajita takes the weave of Demetria’s personal and professional histories and turns them into poetry.

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Versify #33: The Blade And The Blooming

For attorney and aspiring writer Adam Hill, his journey toward understanding the life of his younger brother, Eric, began by coping with Eric’s death, both in the present and 1,000 years before either of them was ever born. Adam tells his story to poet Kelley Bell about the process of chronicling his brother’s untimely passing, their family’s journey to lay him to rest, and how his death opened a door for Adam to more fully understand a faith practice that motivated his brother to travel across the globe in search of truth. Then Kelley takes the Hill family’s spiritual pilgrimage and turns it poetry.

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Versify #32: Do You Want To See More?

Tasha Lemley has spent much of her professional life championing the stories of people on the margins. She co-founded The Contributor, a Nashville nonprofit “street newspaper” that helps to empower people experiencing homelessness. But even with a career’s worth of exposure to the types of hardship that can come from living on a social periphery, there were still some harsh realities that Tasha was unprepared for. Today Tasha speaks with poet Sally Harvey Anderson about her visit to a Southern Nevada cat house and how a brush with the unglamorized fact of the American sex trade transformed her commitment to social advocacy. Then Sally takes that formative experience and turns it into poetry.

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Versify #31: Before Bukowski

There are about as many ways to fall in love with the craft of writing as there are books to be read. But whatever the means of introduction, that first literary gateway drug, it’s typically hard to forget. But for Nashville non-fiction writer Rob Simbeck, his route to an early love of literature, began with and American tragedy. Today Rob speaks with poet Ashley Trabue, about his experience, living through a decade that fractured the country, and how that turmoil pointed him towards a love of telling stories, a discovery that helped to keep Rob from unraveling in more ways than one. Then Ashley takes the broad scope of those experiences, and turns them into poetry.

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Versify #30: A Kiss For Every Frog

Perhaps you’ve had the experience of standing on some nondescript street corner, minding your own business, when a stranger comes along and tries to chat you up. Maybe you found yourself thinking, “I hope this person’s not a murderer” — a fear which typically seems dramatic. But when Rachel Gladstone had a similar type of run-in with her neighborhood exterminator, she was shocked to find just how plausible that concern actually was. Rachel Speaks with poet Alicia Marie Brandewie about a series of unsettling encounters with the pest control man up the street. Then Alicia takes Rachel’s surprising narrative and turns it into poetry.


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Versify #29: All Power To All The People

When Ritagay Sisk-Jamison first joined the Philadelphia chapter of the Black Panther Party in 1969, she was under scrutiny not only from some of its members but also the federal government. Ritagay and her daughter Tandekile Francis sit down to speak with poet Courtney Sinclaire Brown, about their family’s multi-generational commitment to public service. And how Ritagay’s lifelong association with the Black Panther Party has cemented their belief in offering public aid by any means necessary. And then Courtney takes their activist’s legacy and turns it into poetry.


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Versify #28: A Penny Sewn Into Every Scrap

Versify #28: A Penny Sewn Into Every Scrap
photo courtesy Andee Rudloff

For Nashville muralist Andee Rudloff, the process of making a public artwork is about a lot more than adding a little color to urban landscapes. Andee sits down with poet J Joseph Kane, to talk about how an early exposure to her grandmother’s love of narrative and improvisational art spurred her towards a career crafting murals out of community stories. And then Joe takes the arc of Andee’s artistic journey and turns it into poetry. (more…)

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Versify #26: Person, Animal Thing

When we talk about the casualties of war, often the emphasis gets placed on the visible losses, but for the people like Rani Banjarian, a Lebanese international student turned East Nashville Maths teacher, who actually endure those conflicts,  the intangible changes, are often just as costly. Today Rani speaks with his form college professor, poet Destiny Birdsong, about his experience living under the shadow of war, and how what he learned from that ordeal, transformed is relationship to his country, and led him to pursue an education overseas. A decision that’s caused Rani to be torn between his family and his ambitions. And then Destiny takes his complex history, and turns it into poetry.

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