Last year, Hendersonville poet and activist Robert “Zach” Zachary attended a poetry open mic at Shakedown Lounge Kava Bar in Hendersonville. The performers spoke words that could “effortlessly set your soul on fire,” Zachary remembers. “But,” he says, “so few people were coming on Thursday nights to hear readings.” Determined to boost attendance while creating an inclusive space, Zachary teamed up with local writers Crystal Cauley and Tony Robles to establish the Poetic Versers of Color. Hosted on the second Thursday of every month, the open mic aims to bring exposure to BIPOC poets. However, all are welcome to join — “no matter the color cascade,” says Zachary. For this month’s event, Cauley will honor Martin Luther King Jr. with an anthology of poems that tell the story of her ancestors crossing the Atlantic to “rise up from self-pity to self-reliance.” According to Zachary, sharing these narratives allows us to embrace both our “differences and sameness.”
Poetic Versers of Color happens Thursday, Jan. 11, 7pm at Shakedown Lounge Kava Bar (706 7th Ave. East, Hendersonville). Free. For more information, see shakedownlounge.com.