Tag Archives: Amy McDaniel

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…


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!

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



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.


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.

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…)

Awful Interview: Amy McDaniel

22 Jul

If I told you that there is a woman who trains tigers for the circus, listens to classical Indian music, and is capable of picking up 35 marbles with her toes faster than anyone else you know, would you think she sounded a little too good to be true? I would. Well guess what? She exists! and ‘She’ is Amy McDaniel. She is also one of the founders of Atlanta’s Solar Anus Reading series, is a contributor over at HTML Giant and the author of the chapbook Selected Adult Lessons from Agnes Fox Press. She will be gracing our ears at this Sunday’s Vouched Atlanta launch reading, which you will all be attending, amiright?

I’ve heard you’re moving to Bangladesh. Do you think you’ll come back in two years with a pet tiger? Have you started listening to a lot of tunes by Satyajit Ray and Ravi Shankar?

The scientific name for the Bengal tiger is tigris tigris tigris, so I plan to acquire triplet tigers and name them Tigris, Tigris, and Tigris. I have been listening to the classical Indian channel on Pandora, but more than that I’ve been listening to ghazals sung by Farida Khanum, whose voice expresses all the tease mixed with longing that the ghazal form demands. Because I’m going to ask my students to write a traditional ghazal, which is a really difficult form, I tried it for myself, and you’ll hear the results at the Vouched reading. I’m not going to sing it, though.

Would you ever consider joining the circus with Tigris, Tigris, and Tigris? How would that affect your writing? Also, about the singing of the ghazals- why so shy?

Well, I just started physical therapy for a nastily sprained ankle, and my PT told me that I have more range of motion in my left foot than anyone he’s ever seen, AND, that I can pick up 35 marbles with my toes faster than any other patient. So, yes, we would absolutely join the circus. I don’t feel that it would affect my writing because in my heart I’ve always been a circus performer with three pet tigers.

As far as singing, I wouldn’t say I’m shy so much as… considerate of the feelings of others.

35 marbles? That’s a whole new kind of nimble. Really, I’m impressed. Were you surprised when you found out you were so adept at grabbing things with your toes, or was this a talent you were aware you had?

I was unsurprised. My toe hero is David Byrne, who writes, “What exactly IS happening in between my toes, anyway? It’s all slightly loopy innuendo, ecstatic, sexy and borderline disgusting.”

I have pied grec — Greek foot — which means my second toe is longer than my great toe, and which also means that, dynastically speaking, I am Ptolemaic (like Cleopatra) rather than Middle Kingdom. Lady Liberty also has pied grec.

So does Uma Thurman! Are there any other physical perks of being a pied grec aside from marble-picking-upping?

A lady never tells. What I will say is that the term shrimp job was introduced into the language by John Waters in his first feature film, Mondo Trasho, about a woman who is accosted by a foot fetishist, who sucks her toes in a public park — forcibly. Later, a mad doctor amputates her feet. Dangers of this sort loom over us pieds grecs from birth, and it is incumbent upon us to be hyper-vigilant at all times!

That sounds absolutely terrifying. You must be paranoid 100% of the time and rarely wear sandals. Do you like scary movies? Really scary movies that make you remember why you were afraid of the dark once? 

The last scary movie I remember seeing was Love, Actually. I liked it okay. It really doesn’t take much to frighten me, especially because the things in scary movies can really happen. For instance, yesterday, a crazy-eyed college student with the eyebrows of Burt Reynolds approached me in a parking lot and said that she’d noticed my injured ankle (see above), and wanted me to know that Satan attacks us through our bodies. So maybe I need to re-watch The Exorcist and take it a little more seriously this time.

That does sound serious. When I first watched The Exorcist I developed a crush on the priest, which is really weird on many levels, but especially now after doing a picture search of him on Google. 

Do you think Satan would be more prone to attack you through your injured ankle or your super-powered toes?

I’m so distracted by your crush confession that I can barely focus on this question. I’m worried that you are using it as a diversion tactic, a trap, so that I will admit that I have inside knowledge on how Satan operates. I DON’T KNOW! But Satan, if you’re out there, please don’t mess with my ears. That really freaks me out.

It may or may not have been a diversion. What would you say to encourage people (not  Satan) to come to our reading this Sunday, July 24th? 

Every session, before giving me the ultrasound-massage thing with all the goo, my physical therapist asks me what part of my ankle hurts the most, and I can’t just point, I have to say, “The anterior tibiofibular ligament.” Poetry is like a gooey ultrasound massage in that way. People should come to the reading if they are tired of just pointing, and want instead, finally, to know the real name of something real.

Vouched ATL Is Making Some News!

22 Jul

Vouched contributor and Vicereine, Laura Straub, is already making some news with her colonization of Atlanta!

Image from PurgeATL

Not only did her Awful Interview of Heather Christle get a nice, little nod over at the Poetry Foundation blog, but she has an interview herself up at PurgeATL where they turned the awful hose on her.

I’m really glad and proud of Laura’s achievements already in getting the Atlanta table up and running, and can’t wait to see where it’ll run from here.

If you’re in or around Atlanta on July 24th, you should head to the Youngblood Gallery for her first Vouched Presents reading (featuring Heather Christle, Tadd Adcox, Bruce Covey, Amy McDaniel, and Ben Spivey!) and give her a big pat on the back for me.

Vouched Atlanta Launch Reading!

7 Jul

¡importante!  Our launch reading date has been changed to Sunday, July 24th!

Great news everybody! The time has come for the VouchedATL launch reading!

RSVP on facebook! 

It’s time to celebrate! What better way to do so than with some of our favorite writers? Come join us at the Young Blood Gallery and Boutique (656 N Highland Ave., 30306) on Sunday, July 24th at 6:30pm. Don’t worry, admission is free. There will be wine, beer, books, and lots of awesome readers.

A boatload of thank you’s go out to PurgeATL for their sponsorship and assistance in planning the reading, specifically Matt DeBenedictis, Johnny Carroll, and Tim Song. Also to Jason Travis for the awesome poster design.

Another round of thank you’s to Maggie White and everyone at the Young Blood Gallery for so graciously donating their space.

Come and join us! You don’t want to hear about this second-hand afterwards, do you? (You really don’t)

Vouched ATL @ Artlantis with the Solar Anus reading series

8 Jun

This past Saturday I had the honor of setting up my first Vouched Books table at the third annual Artlantis Festival. The Solar Anus Reading series and I shared the booth for the day, which meant I got to spend the entire day with Amy McDaniel. It was a complete success. Books were sold, poems were read, mint-bourbon-lemonade and laughs were had, friends stopped by, and the whole day was full of merriment. Here are some pictures of our tom-foolery: 

A huge thank you to all of our friends who came by to support us, and all of the new friends we made. Special thanks to Jamie Iredell, Mark Basehore, and Blake Butler. And thank you most of all to Amy McDaniel for the lemonade, sandwiches, and all-around magnificence.