Tag Archives: Matt Bell

A Very Vouched Thank You For a Very Vouched Birthday.

26 Jul

Man oh man, it’s hard to believe it’s been a week since the 2nd Very Vouched Birthday party at the Goatfarm. I’d really like to take a moment to say thank you to all of those involved. (There were a lot of people involved!)

First-off, a tremendous thank you to the hardworking team at the Wren’s Nest and their high school editorial team for volunteering throughout the evening’s festivities! Without their help the event would have disintegrated into chaos! Most notably I would like to thank my partner-in-planning, Jessie Matheson, the organization’s Education Director. Her visionary work with the Wren’s Nest  brought  great focus and energy to the festivities, and her assistance in matching our readers with their reading selections was absolutely indispensable.

Speaking of indispensable…

Question: WHERE WOULD I BE WITHOUT TYLER GOBBLE AND LAYNE RANSOM [AND NICK STURM]??????

Answer: Probably sad, somewhere crying!

They drove all the way down from Indiana [and up from Tallahassee] to help out with the event and party hardy! That is dedication! That is friendship! They ran the table without a hitch! I am eternally in their debt!

photo 1

Notable things that pertain to this event that start with the letter “G”:

Gratitude

Goatfarm

Here’s a fact: Vouched Atlanta would be a shadow of what it is if it weren’t for the  unending support and assistance that we’ve received from the good folks at the Goatfarm over the course of the past few years. Their crew is a total dream to work with — taking care of all of the production that goes into the venue for our readings (staging! press! chairs! lights! sound! booze!). Even better – they really, really believe in Vouched. It’s a total honor to be affiliated with them. I’m excited to continue working with them in the years to come.

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HUGE thank you’s to champions of literature Matt Bell and Blake Butler for highlighting the evening with their work and words, and for supporting independent literature with more passion and fervor than any other authors I know. This was mentioned at the party, but… my first two book orders for Vouched Books Atlanta were for How They Were Found and Scorch Atlas. It’s been really amazing to watch Blake and Matt’s writing gain momentum over the past two years. Hosting them both was a humbling honor.

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THANK YOU to Myke Johns and Jayne O’Connor for co-hosting throughout the evening. You charmed everyone’s pants off!

Many many thank yous to the local authors and tutors who read the work of the KIPP Scribes: Sue Gilman, Patrick Shaffner, Jessie Matheson, Rachael Maddux, Johnny Drago, Julian Modugno, John Carroll, Terra McVoy, Thomas Wheatley, Jason Mallory, Jamie Allen, Myke Johns, Brooke Hatfield, Lain Shakespeare, Bruce Covey, Amy Herschleb, Molly Dickinson, Jayne O’Connor, Amelia Lerner, and Amy McDaniel. You really brought the stories to life and it meant so much to the scribes in attendance to hear that!

Maybe one of my favorite parts of the evening was revealing the GORGEOUS 2nd Vouched Birthday poster designed by Lacey Valentini and screen-printed by Brett Andrew Miotti of the Peregrine Consortium. Lacey has designed the bulk of our promotional collateral over the past two years and is solely responsible for the visual identity and brand that Vouched Atlanta has. The poster stands as a tribute to that. If you weren’t able to order or purchase one at the event – don’t worry! A limited number are still available for purchase. You can do that here.

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Thank you also to the evening’s sponsors, whose contributions and donations really brought the community together: Scoutmob, Creative Loafing, BURNAWAY, Marmalade Bakeshop, BANG! Arts and Promotions, Atlanta Movie Tours, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Dad’s Garage, The High Museum, The Inman Park Squirrel Census, Wonderroot, and MOCA GA.

A heartfelt thanks to the artists who so generously donated their artwork to our silent art auction and to BURNAWAY for their assistance in organizing it: Brooke Hatfield, Lydia Walls, John Carroll, Bethany Collins, Nathan Sharratt, and Jessica Caldas.

Thank you to the local organizations who helped spread the word! BANG! Arts and Promotion, Scoutmob, AM 1690, Creative Loafing, Common Creative, ArtsATL, BURNAWAY, Criminal Records, Write Club Atlanta, Scene Missing Magazine and John Carroll for our third awful interview.

Last but not least, thank you to the Atlanta creative community at large for your unbridled enthusiasm for words. You make everything worth it.

A Very [Second] Vouched Birthday F.A.Q.

8 Jul

After blitzing the internet with Single Sentence Reviews, Raffle Prize Announcements, and other promotional things for about a month, I realize you may have some questions about the upcoming Vouched ATL festivities. So here’s our second ever Vouched Presents FAQ for our second ever birthday.

VouchedBday
When does this shin-dig start?  
7pm, approximately. I estimate readings to begin between 7:15 and 7:30.

Is there a cost for admission?

Yes, this year it will cost $5 to get you into the Vouched Birthday party BUT your $5 gets you an automatic raffle ticket for some our our fabulous prizes! Every additional $5 you spend at the birthday party (on posters, Vouched merchandise or Wren’s Nest Merchandise) gets you an additional raffle ticket!

What are the totally sweet raffle prizes? 

Oh, you want a list? Fine. Here you go:

• Ticket vouchers for you and a friend to Dad’s Garage
• A Wren’s Nest gift pack and personal tour of the house museum for you and friends!
• Ticket vouchers for Atlanta Movie Tours
• Tickets to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
• A family membership to MOCA GA
• A membership to the High Museum!
• The ultimate gift package from the Inman Park Squirrel Census!
• Vouched Books gift pack!
• A year-long membership to Wonderroot!

How do I win those totally sweet raffle prizes?

Great question! Participants in our raffle will receive 1 raffle ticket for every $5 donated or spent on Wren’s Nest Publishing Co., or Vouched merchandise. (So say, for instance, you buy a book from me that costs $10. For that you will receive not only your book, but 2 raffle tickets! Which could win you all sorts of amazing prizes!)

I heard there’s a silent auction too. What the dealy-yo?

BURNAWAY is sponsoring the Birthday party by curating and organizing a silent auction of literary-centric artwork throughout the evening. It’s gorgeous stuff! You should be excited!

And this commemorative 2nd birthday poster, what’s up with that?

To celebrate the second birthday of Vouched Books in Atlanta the über talented Lacey Valentini designed a commemorative 2 year birthday poster that will be printed by Brett Andrew Miotti. A limited number will be for sale at the festivities for $25. The design is a combination of every poster Lacey has designed for the reading series since it launched in July 2011. If you’ve read for Vouched Presents in Atlanta before check it out, your name is on it! Pre-order your copy here.

2nd Birthday poster

Wait, so who is reading?

Matt Bell and Blake Butler will be reading original works later in the evening (starting at around 8:30p or so). But before that 20 Atlantan authors will be reading the work of the Wren’s Nest Kipp Scribes. Those readers include:

Rachael Maddux
Johnny Drago
Julian Modugno
Scott Daughtridge
Sue Gilman
Patrick Shaffner
Jessie Matheson
Terra McVoy
Thomas Wheatley
Jason Mallory
Jamie Allen
Myke Johns
Jayne O’Connor
Brooke Hatfield
Lain Shakespeare
Bruce Covey
Amy Herschleb
Molly Dickinson
Amelia Lerner
Amy McDaniel

Where do my donations go?

All donations will go to the Wren’s Nest Publishing Co.

Where can I learn more about the Wren’s Nest Publishing Co.?  

You can learn more about the Wren’s Nest Publshing Co. here!

What if I get hungry? Sometimes I get hungry! 

I hope you get hungry! Engorge yourself with food from The Good Food Truck, popsicles from the King of Pops, and sweets from Marmalade Bake Shop!

What’s the Goatfarm, are there goats?

In their own words: The Goat Farm Arts Center is a major visual & performing arts center in Atlanta. What was once an underutilized historic site went through a major expansion and was given new form in 2009. Part of the expansion opened up 20,000 square feet dedicated to five new performance and exhibition halls and spaces. The Center now hosts classical & contemporary music concerts, traditional and experimental theatrical performances, film screenings, contemporary dance performances and art exhibitions.

And yes, there are still real-life goats! There is no longer a turkey. (R.I.P. Kingsley.)

The poster has a lot of balloons. Will there be balloons?

Yes, there will be balloons. There will not be bears.

Are we going to party? Really?

Yes. DUH.

Happy Release Day: In The House Upon The Dirt Between The Lake And The Woods by Matt Bell (Soho Press)

18 Jun

Photo Credit: Soho Press

Longtime Vouched favorite Matt Bell gets to take a big breath today as his debut novel, In The House Upon The Dirt Between The Lake And The Woods, begins to devour the world today. It’s been a long-time growling, and I, and I’m sure the rest of the Vouched crew, are mega-stoked to see this novel come out of its cave.

If you don’t know Matt’s work (though let’s be for real–you probably do), he’s the author of the novella-in-stories Cataclysm Baby and the terrifyingly gorgeous short story collection How They Were Found, along with a bunch of other tremendous things. I do believe Benjamin Percy got it right when he declared, “Matt Bell is not a novelist. He is a mystic.”

Check out some previous Vouched chatter about Matt Bell:

A little write-up/round-up I did about Cataclysm Baby

This Awful Interview that Laura did with Matt

This Awful Interview that Christopher did with Matt

Right here’s a little snippet if you can’t wait:

I. Before our first encounter with the bear I had already finished building the house, or nearly so.In the hasty days that followed, I feared we moved in too fast and too early, the house’s furnishings still incomplete, the doors not all right-hinged—and in response to my worries my wife said that was no trouble, that she could quickly finish what I had mostly made.Beneath the unscrolling story of new sun and stars and then-lonely moon, she began to sing some new possessions into the interior of our house, and between the lake and the woods I heard her songs become something stronger than ever before. I returned to the woods to cut more lumber, so that I too might add to our household, might craft for her a crib and a bassinet, a table for changing diapers, all the other furnishings she desired. We labored together, and soon our task seemed complete, our house readied for what dreams we shared—the dream I had given her, of family, of husband and wife, father and mother, child and child—and when the earliest signs of my wife’s first pregnancy came they were attended with joy and celebration.

Enough enough, let’s all go over to the Soho Press page for the book to check out a further excerpt, find a time and a place to see Matt on his tour, and get the dang thing okay okay.

An Unruly Collage of Strange and Intense Emotions, or Best Ofs For 2012

27 Dec

If I remember right, I saw Scott McClanahan give this performance after Abby Koski got me wasted on rum and Cokes then introduced me to Matt Siegel, and I had no idea what to do.  Or where anyone was.

I didn’t think, “Hey, where are all the people I know” until after.

You can tell I’m happiest not when I smile but slapped into dumb stunned awe like I was watching Scott bark his generations, a latter-day prophet too made of thunder and dirt-real truth for any church, so boiling over with harsh and angelic vision, soothing my frayed thoughts while setting the room ablaze.

I’m sorry, but I’m just not a cheerleader; I’m a lower-tier saint.

This was probably my best moment in the Beauty Bar at AWP 2012, followed closely by drunk hugs from Brian Oliu and laughs with a few others but roundly defeating some other interactions, Hellos I didn’t want to say, Nice to Meet Yous that felt everything but.  Again, some unraveling.  Basic kindness can appear to us as an unblemished lamb, so we take up our knives.

*   *   *

There is a place I go to read and write when I need to recalibrate and push off the stupid shimmery idea of being a writer or an indie lit writer so I can just do the thing without all the shit.  Two people know where that is.  Both of their names start with A.

I took Matt Bell’s Cataclysm Baby there during the ugliest time of year, when winter is worn out and spring is all, “Whatever, be there in a sec,” when I’m sick of wearing scarves.

I could barely hold a fork, knocked slack-jawed by Baby’s rapacious beauty.  I found myself mouthing the last story, “Zachary, Zahir, Zedekiah,” a real electric rush that swells like Explosions in the Sky, incanting

And then every morning, some new and constant sun, born upon the horizon.

and almost crying in my booth.  I paid, left, and stared at the iron atmosphere too much for safety as I drove.

*   *   *

The cover of Nick Sturm’s chapbook, “WHAT A TREMENDOUS TIME WE’RE HAVING!” with its birthday party horses is the perfect graphic representation of a genuine smile, which seems like the kind of person Nick is (Nick Sturm: A Genuine Smile) and the requisite spirit embodied in that joyous little book.

I remember for a while keeping it in the passenger’s side interior door pocket to show to anyone I gave a ride.  It seems like there are about three people at any given time who are riding in my car regularly, so my evangelism wasn’t far-flung but lacked no enthusiasm.  I generally showed my passengers the poem that ends

                                    …My spirit animal is a bear

with a confetti cannon strapped to its back

The point is to surprise you & then maul you

into pieces of joy

and thank goodness, no one ever said they didn’t understand why.

*   *   *

For some reason I read Matt Hart’s Sermons and Lectures Both Blank and Relentless a lot while giving plasma this spring, squeezing myself through a needle with one hand and holding the book with another.  Listening to Jimmy Eat World, Lovedrug, The Smashing Pumpkins, that helped too, to distract from the displaced queasiness that got better little by little but never went entirely away.

It makes sense that his poems helped the same way; the direct mention of Sunny Day Real Estate aside, the upfront guitar fuzz and gorgeous thrash of them calmed and exhilarated.  Every appointment I had a half hour to imagine where else I could be besides Muncie in February, March, April, still slushed and gray.  It felt holy, an internal push toward whatever better places there were to be.

*   *   *

Brian Oliu’s Level End is the first book I’ve ever delayed reading to intentionally take time to absorb its packaging.  I couldn’t stop just looking at the thing, turning it over and getting happier with every detail from a childhood and adolescence spent on four generations of Nintendo consoles, starting with the NES, a game for which the book’s design was modeled after.

When I finally did get to reading the thing the effect was much the same, a combined joy and relief that someone understood so well the real emotional tug 8-bit worlds have on us whose first big adventures included finding the Master Sword and discovering gold-littered shortcuts in the clouds above danger.  And rendered it so truly in its surreal beauty and sincerity; all nerd jokes aside, sitting in front of a pixel-laden TV screen with my big brother, defeating all number of monsters and villains, is one of the most loaded and precious memories I have.

*   *   *

I remember texting

I AM THE OCEAN, I AM THE BROKEN ATMOSPHERE BEING HEALED

to Chris Newgent as soon as I read it, and immediately claimed it in a tiny yet steady fashion for my own near future:  a beach, a flock of friends, an ocean, a slew of present moments far from Indiana.  I read the rest of Thomas Patrick Levy’s I Don’t Mind If You’re Feeling Alone with a similar hyper-focused sprint, or as a binge, on the couch in my beige and tan apartment and sunk into myself with relief, consuming its color and breathlessness.

*   *   *

There’s a modest handful of books that wind themselves around the edge of my thoughts almost constantly. I think this is in part a residual effect of being an expatriate of Christianity that took the idea of being in constant prayer deeply to heart:  once the verses about no hope for men outside of Yahweh and his son were discarded from whatever walled garden in me they occupied, there was left a decade’s worth of empty earth.

Ben Kopel’s VICTORY is one of those few books that immediately took root in me.  Fragments of it run through my head throughout the day, quiet meditations on how to stay vital and honest and brave.  This book was the first thing I wrote about for Vouched and it remains one of my favorite, most dearly loved books of poetry or anything else.  When I read it I feel like the first time I realized that wet pavement under streetlight is beautiful.  I feel fifteen, riding with my brother in his Explorer through cornfields at night, summer, hands out the windows, brushing fingertips with fireflies.

I could not tell you what my favorite poem is from the book, but there is one part from the poem “Because We Must” that heartbeats through my thoughts almost daily:

A prayer, now

& at the hour of our death—

Fill me with yr light inside this car.

Fill me with yr light.

*   *   *

Yesterday, Christmas, after my family ate a lot of things then opened a lot of things and then said even more things, I continued reading Sal Pane’s novel Last Call in the City of Bridges.  I get embarrassed with how often the book describes my own tendencies and identity:  self-doubt alongside a sense of superiority, a feeling of specialness bred in part by constant consumption of heroic narratives growing up, strong attachment to video games and college memories, yet another member of a generation that was told by parents and teachers to get good grades or else we’d have to work at McDonald’s then was chastised by parents and teachers for thinking we were too good to work at McDonald’s.  The accuracy is painful.

I’m only halfway through so I can give you no conclusions, other than to state that I’m curious to see what direction a story about the directionless will take, and that reading will take me into 2013, heading in one of many possible directions.

Laura Straub’s END O’ THE YEAR list

21 Dec


My futon’s favorite people:
Matt Bell & Brian Oliu, Amber Sparks, and Tyler Gobble.

Cool Presses that started working with Vouched the past six months: Lazy Fascist, Sarabande Books, Queen’s Ferry Press, Curbside Splendor, Spooky Girlfriend, and Black Ocean.

COVER ART: May We Shed These Human Bodies and The Collected Works of Scott McClanahan, Vol. 1

People I’m still confused to have not met IRL yet: Mel Bosworth and Christy Crutchfield

My Husband’s Budding Bromances: Ben Kopel, Tyler Gobble, and Kory Calico

Top 5 Stage Presences in no specific order: xTx, Devan Goldstein (when reading and also when he sings the shit out of some Bon Jovi), Amy McDaniel, Zach Schomburg, Peter Davis.

Favorite Dance Party: Lit Party @ AWP- duh! 

Thing that makes me feel like !!! every time I read it: Ravi Mangla’s Visiting Writers from Uncanny Valley Press

Favorite special thing: Electric lit’s recommendations in my inbox. SO RAD. Also Matthew Salesses’ Writer in Residence series at Necessary Fiction.

These book tours came and BLEW ME AWAY: Bloof books tour, The Southern Comfort Reading Tour, & the Over the Top tour.

Awful Interviews that still make me laugh big and large:  Joshua Ware, Michael Nye, Matt Bell, & Nicholas Tecosky (who still owes me an arm wrestle…)

Bell vs. Pane in Literary Decision 2012!

13 Nov

RSVP on Facebook!

That’s right. Versus.

Vouched knows how sad you all are that the elections are over, meaning no more debates as excuses for drinking games. So, in true Vouched fashion, we are giving you one more debate–a literary debate. (And probably a drinking game.)

It’ll go like this:

Matt Bell and Sal Pane will each give their opening statements (readings), and then Vouched founder Christopher Newgent will moderate a 15 minute debate over today’s most contentious literary controversies: the rise of the eBook as a new world superpower, the dwindling word economy, and what’s the difference between flash fiction and prose poetry anyway?

Afterwards, the crowd will vote, and 5 lucky audience members will win a copy of the victor’s book.

Thomas Jefferson Is Screwed: Anthology of Etiquette and Terrifying Angels With Many Heads

19 Oct

I can’t not smirk even when I look at the cover:  how tongue-in-cheek the design is, recalling something like the 1870-whatever edition of Paradise Lost I found in my hometown library in high school, This is what a distinguished piece of literature looks like.  There’s even a multitude of date stamps on the inside cover’s checkout card.

I think that’s why I find this collection so endearing, not just for the quality of writing but how through so many details the Anthology of Etiquette and Terrifying Angels With Many Heads, the new free e-chapbook from NAP, calls attention to its own unlikeliness of existing, and the absurdity that it actually does, reveling in it with total sincerity one second then riffing on its own ridiculousness the next.  And please don’t think by “ridiculousness” I mean “stupid.” This thing is smart.  I just mean the kind of ridiculousness James Tadd Adcox mentions in his Editor’s Note:

I want to thank as well all of the writers who were willing to contribute work to this anthology, taking it on faith that such a strange book would ever exist.

Matt Bell’s  “When Taking a Terrifying Angel With Many Heads As Your Lover” reads like a sex ed manual for Mormon teenagers from an alternate universe, or a flawlessly proper yet strangely sensually comfortable governess administering a heavenly rite of passage into adulthood, at times boxing your ears for your gross impertinence.  It’s kind of brutal and totally hilarious.  The reader gets constantly reminded of their own childish inexperience and insignificance before their lover:

If asked where you would like to sit at the pre-coital dinner, do not reply smartly: “At the right hand.” But if you do say this, do not also giggle and try to slide the terrifying angel’s own right hand into the drop of your lap. The terrifying angel with many heads is deadly serious about his duties, and will not enjoy your casual nature.

Another one of my favorites here is Joseph Scapellato’s “Thomas Jefferson,” in which said president lives through some dream-within-a-dream mash-up of one of Aesop’s fables and Jesus’ forty days of temptation in the wilderness. Throughout the story, Jefferson repeatedly “wakes up” from a progression of dreams in which he is taking part in typically Jeffersonian pursuits—reading books on a variety of subjects, inventing new machines, etc.—hoping to meet the morning as he does every day, only to find the morning absent:

Always they had shared an understanding, matching roles they donned each dawn like masquerade halfmasks, costumes that enhanced rather than concealed their character. Always he had woken into morning and met it with patience, contemplation, and productivity, qualities that came from and were homage to the morning, qualities that when given returned threefold. He headed for the highest hill, his beaded moccasins turning water, the trim of his smoking robe sweeping tips of  grass, his ivory hair-queue loosening with every step. Behind their old clear understanding he began to sense a darker and still older etiquette, artfully opaque, something like a dream that the morning had woken the world into, a dream that for however senseless it seemed was shackled to its own chilly iron logic.

Eventually Jefferson encounters a series of surreal temptations to betray his faith, not in any god but man’s ability and desire for fairness and enlightenment.  He repeatedly rebuffs his tempter, the Redcoat, but their exchanges become surreal and unhinged to the point that it seems hard to think that even Jefferson’s genuine love of reason and orderliness could ever overcome the increasingly nightmarish world around him.  Disorder claws at him, including in the form of a terrifying angel with many heads of his lovers, and we pretty much get that Thomas Jefferson is screwed.  Here, absurdity is not out for laughs, it’s trying to kill the third U.S. President.  Scapellato handles this fucked up morality tale or Bible story or whatever you want to call it with clarity and efficient description—there are just enough monsters present to imagine how many more might be lurking around the corner.

Also check out Vouched contributor Amber Sparks’ reflection about being a terrifying angel with many heads’ long-term platonic, silent companion waiting eons to hear it speak, and Colin Winnette’s story about a terrifying angel with many heads who is also the mother of an uneasy child with rumbling blood, and this chapbook’s many other lovely and unsettling and terrifying heads, here.

SSR #10 of 15: Cataclysm Baby

12 Jul

Cataclysm Baby
by Matt Bell
Mud Luscious Press
105 pgs, $12

Twenty-six fathers, each the victim of his wayward child, of his own greed, of his own fury (when Icarus fell from the sky, he took Daedalus down with him- because it was Daedalus who put him there).

Cataclysm Baby by Matt Bell

15 Apr

Cataclysm Baby by Matt Bell

Mud Luscious Press, April 2012

105 pages, $12

This book is finally out today, and I know we Vouched Books people are rolling on our Sunday rugs at that. In honor of this release, I thought I’d shake up some goodness to share about the book.

These stories found their way into a lot of stellar magazines, in print and around the web, so I thought I’d link to a couple that really radiate what these stories are doing:

Xarles, Xavier, Xenos at >kill author (full story)

While I spend my days adding new supports to our house, burying new beams in search of solid ground, this son—this boy I no longer wish to claim—he makes portraits of his mother with the cheap watercolors we bought him as a child. He paints her eyes wrong, colors her hair black instead of blonde, and so every night I take away his papers and throw them into the puddle of our yard.

Every night, I tell him, Again you didn’t paint her right.

Virgil, Virotte, Vitalis in Ninth Letter

Quella, Querida, Quintessa in Guernica (full story)

How beautiful our daughter is in her white Tethering dress, dancing with her younger cousins across the decorated length of our yard: First the waltz, then the cha-cha, then the tango. Old people dances, she called them when she was eleven, but now, twelve years old, feet shod for the final time in bobby socks and dress-flats, she can’t wait to teach the others every step, every turn and twirl, every last aching contact of foot upon grass.

An Amazing Book Trailer for Cataclysm Baby

Cataclysm Baby Trailer from chris heavener on Vimeo.

An Interview in elimae

My Single-Sentence Review

Nearly every story dog-eared, so difficult to choose my favorites, each one shining the darkness, in how brilliantly Bell handles these sick,  twisted, broken children; these flailing, failing, heartbroken parents; and this world, post-apocalyptic, rolling for the edge, getting mushier and more dreadful, me both shocked at the doom portrayed and relieved for the moment to escape, momentarily at least, the cracked worlds living on.

April 6th: Vouched ATL Presents Review!

10 Apr

On Friday, April 6th the Over the Top tour made its pilgrimage to Atlanta! It was grand!  It was amazing! If you weren’t there- you wish you were! Once again we found ourselves at the Goatfarm, but this time at the Warhorse coffee shop. Our readers were: Jesse Bradley, Tyler Gobble, Melysa Martinez, Christopher Newgent, Amy McDaniel, Brian Oliu, and Matt Bell. This time we were lucky enough to have Jesse Bradley film the readings, so if you weren’t able to make the trip to our little corner of earth, you may indulge second-hand via the world-wide web.

First off was Jesse Bradley himself! Here’s a handsome picture of him in romantic lighting.
Jesse says ‘y’all’ like a boss. You probably want to hear for yourself. WISH GRANTED. 

Next up was the charming Tyler Gobble. He is so freaking charming you don’t even know. He is so charming I’m doing everything in my power to steal him for Atlanta. Look how awesome he looks. Look how awesome he is when he reads out loud, some new stuff and some of his portion of The Fullness of Everything.

Then, my beloved Melysa Martinez. Holy Moses she is so awesome. Not only does she hold Atlanta in the palm of her hand, but then she reads and she holds us in the palm of her hand too. See? 

After Melysa we all had to catch our breath. Everyone was so in love with everyone. There was a lot of shaking of hands, hugging, laughing, and drinking.

We came back for the home stretch. Christopher Newgent! Vouched Founder and all-around swell guy who happens to be my best friend. Be jealous. Here’s a picture of Christopher being super excited. Who can blame him? We were all having so much fun. Here’s Christopher reading

Amy McDaniel is the loveliest of lovely things. Just look at her!

Amy is, has been, and will always be completely enchanting. She read a small part of a bigger thing. We all were at the edge of our seats! I can’t wait until she unleashes the bigger thing in its entirety. Here, be enchanted. 

Brian Oliu was up next. He read some from his portion of The Fullness of Everything (Tiny Hardcore Press), and  a bit from his latest release Level End.  (Have you seen the packaging for the gold edition?! It’s in a DVD case and includes CD filled with an ebook file, an audio recording of Brian reading his work, videos of boss battles, etc.! We were all like WHOA!) When he was finished we all felt like we had defeated Ganondorf. 

Speaking of champions: Matt Bell was our final reader. He had us howl like wolves when he read. It worked!  By the time he had finished reading everyone in the audience had started a mental countdown for the release of Cataclysm Baby. Honestly, he knocked the wind out of everyone as well as rocked our socks off. We were all barefoot and breathless when he finished- it wasn’t weird.

April 6th has made its mark as one of my favorite days of 2012 so far (definitely my favorite day since AWP this year).  I cannot thank our readers enough. You were all so splendid! Thanks so much to Jesse Bradley, Brian Oliu, Tyler Gobble, Christopher Newgent, and Matt Bell for making the trip to Atlanta. Thank you to Amy McDaniel and Melysa Martinez for sharing your words with us as well as your elegant southern hospitality. Thank you so much to the Goatfarm for allowing us to read in such a beautiful space. Thank you to everyone who helped me promote the reading: Gina Myers, Kory Calico, Bruce Covey, Jamie Iredell, Blake Butler, Matt Sailor, Laura Carter, Jenny Sadre-Orafai, and Deisha at Bang! Arts Management and Promotions, and others.  Most of all, thank you to our wonderful audience for participating and supporting our readers with such fervor (& for howling, Roll Tide-ing, and SPRING BREAK!-ing).

I’ll be setting up the Vouched Atlanta Table at the next chapter of Write Club Atlanta: Death & Taxes, tomorrow at Push Push Theatre at 9pm. Come and say hello!

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