Gregor Southard Press Kit
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Greg Southard loves a story, whether he’s setting the scene at one of the most historic music venues in the country as stage manager of the Ryman Auditorium or exploring the beauty of the world through writing poetry.
Born and raised in Topeka, Kan., Southard earned a theater degree from the University of Kansas and moved to Nashville a few months later “in hopes of getting involved with the making of Christian music videos, but no one would even take my résumé,” he said.
Instead, he found work at Opryland USA theme park, then Tennessee Repertory Theatre and Nashville Opera Association before joining the Ryman in 1998.
His new book, America Now: Poems, Prayers, and Stories, will be donated to hospital waiting rooms in the Nashville area; Southard hopes to get the book in hospitals around the country, and “do a book-reading tour where I would go speak to patients,” he said. “This would satisfy both of my desires: to work on my art full time while fulfilling Christ’s command to go to the sick and needy.”
Nashville City Paper Interview
September 16, 2005
Why are you a poet?
I have always loved writing and telling stories. I fell in love with the art of making a poem while I was working on my B.A. in English literature at Western Kentucky University about seven years ago.
The most rewarding moments for me are when someone tells me that a certain poem gave them comfort or helped them to understand something about themselves. … What frustrates me the most is trying to get people to even read my work.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
That I gave up a chance to go for a doctorate in literature to take my job at the Ryman Auditorium
What is the most overrated media phenomenon?
The cult of performer worship
What do you wish were trendy?
What is your favorite song, movie and book?
“You Know What To Do” by Stryper because it literally changed my life. Luther starring Joseph Fiennes because watching it always makes me want to change the world. G.K. Chesterton’s autobiography, Orthodoxy, because it changed the way I looked at the relationship between the poet and his Creator.
What three things do you want to do before you die?
I have pretty lofty goals. … I want to be the U.S. poet laureate someday. I would like to have a show featuring my poetry performed on Broadway. I also want to have a drink and do some writing at The Eagle and Child pub in England where J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis used to meet for drinks and read manuscripts to each other.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
When I was in fifth grade, I beat the most popular kid in basketball camp in the Free Throw shooting competition. At the award ceremony, no one would applaud for me. I thought it was just hilarious.