April 21, 2014

Books, gifts, spirit: the shop at Scarritt-Bennett

Scarritt-Bennett Center has been one of my favorite places in Nashville for a while.

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The campus offers 10 acres of serenity - right in the bustle of Nashville.

First of all, it’s the home of Poet’s Corner, a monthly reading series where several of my dear poet friends sometimes read, and where Kelsey and I will be appearing on September 27. Second of all, it’s a lovely campus that’s great for programs, workshops, retreats, and special events. Its chapel is a popular site for weddings. But now I have a new reason to love SBC: its lovely Gifts and Books shop, now located in the Laskey Building.

Minnie Murrell has become the manager of the shop early this year. Minnie recently contacted me to ask if I’d like to place my poetry book for sale in the store. Well, of course I would! We emailed back and forth a few times about my book and the terms for placing it in the store, and Minnie at one point said,

I think it is wonderful and a blessing for your poetry to be accompanied by your daughter’s music. Amen!!!

It’s not just everybody who throws out blessings and amens in the middle of a mostly-business email, so I took a field trip last Friday to not only deliver some books, but meet Minnie and scope out the shop in its new location.

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Some of the wares available, including one of several books by my poetry mentor Bill Brown.

The shop has both local and international artistic goods. I could’ve spent my vast profits from poetry (okay, perhaps even a little more than that) on jewelry, scarves and other textiles, bookmarks, and more. There’s a bench of books by authors from the Poet’s Corner, part of an entire corner devoted to books.

Purchases at the shop help support the artists and the mission of SB, which includes social justice through cross-cultural understanding, encouraging and supporting women’s empowerment, and offering opportunities for spiritual development and renewal.

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The sweet-spirited Minnie, shop manager, and Baliqis, summer volunteer: both inspiring women!

SBC’s outreach continues to and through Minnie, who I learned is a third year Vanderbilt divinity school student, and Baliqis, an intern who is originally from Nigeria and loves to volunteer. Baliqis told me she loves all sorts of volunteer work, but admits it’s also good for her resume. Almost fifteen, she aspires to be a primary care physician.

Next time you need a gift for someone, or want to give yourself a little treat in terms of just browsing or buying, stop by the store…but also don’t miss the gallery, picking up brochures about upcoming programs, and taking a stroll around the serene campus.

For more pics, visit this photo album on the Kory and Kelsey Facebook page (and please “Like” us while you’re there!)


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