Tag Archives: Readings

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.

Visitors: Two Readings, One Book

16 Oct

With book publication comes book promotion. In the last ten days, I’ve given two readings, one in Chicago at DePaul University, and one in my current hometown, Columbia, Missouri, at Orr Street Studios Hearing Voices/Seeing Visions series.

I gave my first public reading when I was in graduate school, probably in 2004. This was in a small room at the Millennium Student Center as part of some kind of “Attend UMSL!” promotion. Or maybe it was for something else. Anyway, I read a flash fiction piece, my voice cracked, sweat poured down my arms, and I was grateful that it was over. Since then, I’ve maybe given a reading a year—for graduation from my MFA program, on stage with ten other readers at a public pavilion where I read dead last and it was so dark by the time I was up I literally couldn’t see anyone in the front row, with the poet Richard Newman at Chesterfield Arts in suburban St. Louis, at Dressel’s Pub along with five other readers, Get Lost Bookshop here in sunny Columbia—and, yes, actually, that might be it.

Not a lot of practice. And certainly not with a book in hand, which, I was warned (thankfully) is much harder: can’ t let that sucker snap shut on your fingers, the print is probably smaller than you’re used to, the spacing on the page is smaller, all things that I needed to keep in mind.

Chicago: I had to be in the Windy City for work anyway, the writer Amina Gauter invited me to read at DePaul University in a reading pitched as “Writers as Editors, Editors as Writers.” I read with Phong Nguyen, who runs the wonderful journal Pleiades. We were in one of the multipurpose rooms; windows to the right, good soundsystem with a mic (though both Phong and I used our “professor” voices and skipped the tech help), sandwiches and snacks (nomomomom…), plenty of rows of chairs, and a terrific crowd of about forty people, mostly made up of DePaul students and faculty.

Prior to the reading, Phong and I talked about reading preparation  I said I was nervous; he said he never became nervous before a reading. We both had our “reading copy,” a version of our book that was dogeared and marked up, the passages and words, sometimes whole paragraphs, we didn’t need crossed out. I waffled on what to read: an excerpt or an entire story. Amina insisted I had time to read a whole story. Phong read first, and was phenomenal. I read second and was shaky: mispronounced words, a tendency to trip off my words, dry-mouthed (I forgot my water!).

After, we took questions about journal editing. I rambled, bounced from subject to subject, often forgetting what the question was, unable to come back to earth. Phong was a pro, answering questions with precision like Roger Federer chewing up an unranked opponent. Lesson learned: clear mind, clear reading. Also, sandwiches are good. I ate two of ’em.

Columbia: A bonus of this reading is that I had been to the venue many times before—Orr Street is a reading series unaffiliated with an university, and I’ve heard a range of terrific readers there before. It’s intimate and cozy, with wonderful artwork on the surrounding walls. In Chicago, I didn’t bring my own books. This time? Sho’nuff! I also brought beer koozies with my book cover on ’em (yes, yes I did), slapped a couple of PBRs in ’em, set up my Mr. T figurine (yes, yes I did), and plugged in my Square thingamajig into my phone to hock some books. About as different from Chicago as it could be.

Once again, I read second, following Peter Gardner, an emeritus professor of anthropology  And like last time, I was unsure what to read. Because my friend Alison was there, and she had the same affinity as I do for him, I read my story “Sparring Vladimir Putin.” I only had time to read the second half, which was okay with me, and while no one every comes up to you and says “Your reading blew goats” I got the feeling that people that were there did dig it. Still, some mistakes, some mispronunciations, tripped over words, etc. I’ll get the hang of it.

What mattered was that some of my close friends and favorite people (like this poet and this poet) were in attendance. That I had blast. That there were beer koozies! Hopeful my next reading, which is in my hometown, Cincinnati, at this joint, will be just as much fun.

Follow Michael on Twitter: @mpnye

Vouched Books Atlanta [and friends!] at the Decatur Book Festival

29 Aug

This weekend, Saturday, September 1st and Sunday, September 2nd Vouched Books Atlanta will once again be set up at this year’s Decatur Book Festival! This year we’ll be sharing a booth with our good friends from The Wren’s Nestbooth 612. Here’s a list of the other great vendors and exhibitors you should visit.  Here’s a map:

As always though, there will be plenty of other things to do and see at the festival. I’ve compiled a list of events below that may help, but I heartily suggest you take a peak at the full schedule of events here. For updates on events throughout the weekend you can check out VouchedATL’s twitter page, and of course, the Decatur Book Festival’s twitter page!

SATURDAY, September 1st: 

10a-1p: The Wren’s Nest Publishing Co. has compiled its sixth annual literary journal, entitled Flyaways, which is comprised entirely of pieces by Atlanta-area high school students. Student editors, contributors, and their friends and family members will join to mingle, congratulate each other, and exult in their accomplishments with lemonade, popsicles, games, and coloring at Core Studio. Pull out your inner child and come share in the revelry!

11a–12p: James Nichols reads at the Experimental Writer’s Asylum.

11:15a-12:15p: Author Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy will be reading. Introduction from Laura Straub (hey, that’s me!) at the Decatur Library.

12p-1p: Boviniad author Nathan Jerpe reveals new stanzas of that ongoing and steampunk-inflected epic poem at the Experimental Writer’s Asylum.

1p-2p: John Harkey, a postdoctoral fellow at Georgia Tech, discusses and recites verse by Objectivist poet Lorine Niedecker (1903–1970) at the Experimental Writer’s Asylum.

2:30p-3:30p: Gina Myers will be reading at the Local Poetry Stage

1:45p- 2:30p: “A Different Kind of Love Story“:  Rachael Maddux will be moderates  a panel with Lydia Netzer and Lisa Zeidner discussing their new novels at the City Hall Stage.

2p-3p: Poet Laura Carter reads at the Experimental Writer’s Asylum

3p-4p: Members of the Atlanta Poets Group engage in their “disjunctive and disruptive linguistic practices at the Experimental Writer’s Asylum.

4p-5p: Rabbit Tales librettist and multidisciplinary artist Madeleine St. Romain performs some of her recent polyphonic material at the Experimental Writer’s Asylum.

5–6 pm: Yale graduate and self-taught conceptual artist Nikita Gale—dubbed a “Superstar of Southern Art” by The Oxford American—discusses her work, which often incorporates text at the Experimental Writer’s Asylum.

SUNDAY, September 2nd: 

12p–1 p: Comedian Brian Bannon (Rolling Stephen Hawking Up a Hill) and musician Bill Taft (Superlocalhellfreakride) re-create some of the music, historical anecdotes, and fabulations they have crafted in honor of the Krog Tunnel’s centenary at the Experimental Writer’s Asylum.

1p-2p: Historian and academic Hester L. Furey, whose first chapbook is titled Little Fish, shares her poetry at the Experimental Writer’s Asylum.

2p–3p: Atlanta native Amy McDaniel, who helps run the Solar Anus reading series, presents her poems in bringing XWA 3 to a close at the Experimental Writer’s Asylum.

2:30p-3:30p: The KIPP Scribes have crafted the stories with the help of their mentors and will release their book, Read After Burning, at CORE Studio (133 Sycamore Street  Decatur, GA 30030). The book launch will feature readings from the KIPP Scribes and their mentors.The KIPP Scribes is a collaborative writing and publishing program between The Wren’s Nest and KIPP STRIVE Academy, a West End charter school. 

3p-4p: Poets Bruce Covey, Gina Myers, Jericho Brown, and Molly Brodak will be reading at  Emory’s College Showcase at the Local Poetry Stage.

5p-6p: Myke Johns introduces Rob Reid, author of Year Zero at the Decatur Conference Center Auditorium.

Also, throughout the Saturday and Sunday daylight hours of XWA 3, passersby can again enjoy the free verse stylings (and, often, the free-verse stylings) of Jimmy Lo and company with Free Poems on Demand outside the gallery.

Hope to see you there!

Vouched Presents: a Literary Powerhouse

29 Aug

This reading really got out of hand fast. What started out as a simple “book release party for Amber Sparks”/”welcome to Indy for Sal Pane” escalated into an all out literary brawl with the addition of Lania Knight, and the REAL PAIN: FUTURE DEAD FRIENDS TOUR 2012 making a stop with Scott McClanahan, Sam Pink, Megan Boyle, Jordan Castro, and Mallory Whitten. This line-up could generate electricity for a small city.

Join us at the new Indy Reads Books store at the very north end of Mass Ave., and pack your brain full of words and moments you won’t want to forget. And, maybe some you’ll want to forget. Let’s be honest. Nights like these have a way of breeding regrets alongside remembrances.

RSVP at Facebook.

Friday, July 20th: What’s New In Poetry presents Amy Gerstler

19 Jul

So excited to announce that the What’s New in Poetry Reading Series, hosted by Emory’s Poetry Council, will be hosting poet Amy Gerstler this Friday, July 20th at 8pm in the Schwartz Center Black Box Theatre. RSVP on Facebook here!

Here’s the skinny on Amy Gerstler, from their own site:

Gerstler is the author of seven books: Dearest Creature (Penguin, 2009); Ghost Girl (2004); Medicine (2000), finalist for the Phi Beta Kappa Poetry Award; Crown of Weeds (1997); Nerve Storm (1995); Bitter Angel (1990), winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award; and The True Bride (1986).

Additionally, she is the author of art reviews, books reviews, fiction, and various journal articles. She also collaborates with visual artists, and her writing has been published in numerous exhibition catalogs.

Gerstler received her BA in psychology from Pitzer College in 1978 and her MFA in nonfiction from Bennington College in 2000. A resident of Los Angeles, Gerstler has taught at Antioch West and the University of California at Irvine’s graduate writing program. She teaches in the Bennington Writing Seminars program at Bennington College in Vermont, and at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.

Jared Yates Sexton, Andrew Scott, Victoria Barrett Reading at the New Indy Reads Bookstore – July 14th

13 Jul


For those living under rocks, the new Indy Reads Bookstore just opened in downtown Indy today, and there are all sorts of rad things happening there in the next few weeks.

John Green is reading tonight, and I feel like I keep seeing that dude everywhere. Figuratively. Like, online. I mean, he has a Tumblr devoted to things he says. I mean, what?

And tomorrow, Vouched pals Jared Yates Sexton, Andrew Scott, and Victoria Barrett are reading, and of course my dumb ass already made plans to be out of town visiting some friends from out-of-state.

Seriously, if you’re in Indy, get to Indy Reads tomorrow to see them read. Yates is heading south soon for his new job, so this is the last time to see him in Indy for a good while.

Plus, the Mass Ave. Crit bike race is tomorrow just a few blocks south of the bookstore, so you can drop by and check out people riding bikes faster than you could (unless you’re like, really fast on a bike).

A Very Vouched Birthday Party FAQ

10 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 festivities. So here’s our first ever Vouched Presents FAQ.

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?

Nope, you can attend for free! That being said, there will be things for sale: food from the Good Food Truck, drinks, popsicles from the King of Pops, t-shirts, books, etc. so it would be very wise of you to bring money with you in case you may get hungry, parched, etc.

I heard there’s an art opening involved too, can you tell me more about that?

Happily! We’re lucky enough to have the very talented Atlantan sculptor, Duncan Shirah, host the opening evening of his exhibition ‘Tools’ in conjunction with our party. He’s even been kind enough to donate his sculpture “Wood Pecker Awl” as the grand prize of the evening. Here’s what that looks like:

You can learn more about Duncan Shirah at his website or in these interviews with Dashboard Co-op and Scoutmob.

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 WINK, 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!

Where do my donations go?

Donations will be split evenly between the Wren’s Nest Publishing Co.  and WINK. Vouched Books will not be keeping any of the money donated.

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

Both organizations have really splendid websites, which give background information on both of their tutoring organizations, the work that they do, and other information about how to get involved.

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

You can learn more about WINK here!

I only attend parties where there are photo-booths. Will there be a photo-booth?

YES! Our good friends at Smilebooth have been kind enough to donate us a photo-booth for the evening to better capture all of the debauchery.

Can I win multiple raffle prizes? 

No. Sorry, but that just doesn’t seem fair. Winners will be collecting their prizes at the Vouched Books table throughout the evening where we will be keeping track of who wins what.  One prize per attendee.

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 real-life goats!

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

Yes, there will be at least 1 dozen 3′ circular balloons. There will not be bears.

The Southern Summer Comfort Tour

8 May

Some of our favorite women (and dude) here at Vouched are piling into a van this summer and trekking from Austin, TX over to Atlanta, GA in what is sure to be some insanity that leaves all your wife beaters and panty hose running with sweat and mud and tears. Here are some details from their Kickstarter:

The Southern Summer Comfort Tour is an exciting literary event consisting of authors Chloe Caldwell, Elizabeth Ellen, Mary Miller, Brandi Wells and Donora Hillard, all crammed into a rental van touring the hot southern states like a good old fashioned rock band. Our new books have been released on indie presses such as Future Tense Books, Short Flight/Long Drive Books, and Tiny Hardcore Press.

We are: Five women authors hailing from New York, Michigan, Mississippi, and Alabama and we’ll be meeting up in Austin, Texas to start our travels. From there, we will be reading from ours books at bookstores and bars in Austin, Houston, New Orleans, Oxford, Tuscaloosa and Atlanta. There will be special guest appearances along the way by people like Kevin Sampsell, Jess Stoner, and others.

We need your help for car and gas money, not to mention breakfast tacos and lots of liquids.

I wish I could embed the video because it’s absolutely hilarious and amazing, but Kickstarter is kind of dumb and architected their video embeds so that a vast majority of bloggers can’t actually embed their videos into their posts.

So, I hope you’ll hop over to their Kickstarter, watch the video, laugh, and considering contributing to the cause. And, if you’ll be in and/or around the following cities on the following dates, you should pop in and listen to these bitchin’ ladies share their bitchin’ words.

Here are our dates:

July 11th – Austin, TX – Domy Books, 7pm
July 12th – Houston, TX – Domy Books, 7pm
July 13th – New Orleans, LA
July 14th – Oxford, MS – Square Books, 6pm
July 16th – Tuscaloosa, AL
July 17th – Atlanta, GA – Beep Beep, 8pm

Garden Party Reading in Detroit Tonight

26 Apr

There are so many of our favorite people reading at this thing tonight, I’m even willing to forgive the use of Papyrus on the flyer. If you’re in or around Detroit, you’re not going to want to miss this.

From the facebook event:

Come enjoy readings of poetry and prose in the beautiful Lafayette Greens garden (142 W. Lafayette) in the heart of downtown Detroit on April 26th (a Thursday) at 5:30. The readings will be fun and “edgy,” and quite possibly followed by coney dogs from Lafeyette Coney Island next door (if that’s your thing).

Readers include Detroit authors Ivan Grass and Jeremy Schmall, as well as Aaron Burch (the author of HOW TO PREDICT THE WEATHER), and Nick Sturm (the author of WHAT A TIME WE’RE HAVING).

Come and have a good ‘ole time with us!

Note: The rain location for the event will be at 1064 Seyburn St., just off Lafayette near Indian Village.

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!