Books, Booze & Beats | Mike Jordan and Jacinta Howard | Episode 18

This week’s episode is a real treat as we got to sit down with Jacinta Howard and Mike Jordan. 

Recorded a few weeks ago, we spoke with Mike and Jacinta about Ja Rule, how the two of them met (married writers ya’ll), and the reading series they host Lit: Books, Booze & Beats.

A different than the standard reading— Lit: Books, Booze & Beats (which is every second Tuesday of the month at Monday Night Garage, in Southwest Atlanta) is all about the audience reading and what books they brought. 

“If you’re at home and you’re reading a book what are you probably also doing? You’re probably, if you drink, having a drink and you probably have some music on, “ Jordan tells us of the idea that brought the reading series together — getting book recommendations. “Let's do that in public and let everyone hear what you’re recommending to your friend, or new friends who are now here.”

Of course, there’s more to it than that... that’s why beats is in the name. While people are reading a passage from a book that goes along with the curated theme of the month, Jacinta puts music behind the reader creating a unique reading experience. This is not the typical reading music.

A longtime journalist and lifelong music lover, Jacinta Howard resides in the Atlanta area with her daughter and husband. She finds happiness in the pages of a great novel, on the beach, listening to good music and hanging with her family. She is the author of women's fiction and contemporary romance, a USA TODAY Must-Read Author and a two-time RONE Award nominee.  

Mike Jordan is an Atlanta-based writer and editor. His work has been published at Thrillist,  American Way magazine, Creative Loafing, The Huntsville Times and more (see more at MuckRack). His 20 years of experience includes working with Cox Media Group, InterContinental Hotels Group, Splash, Eventbrite, Cumulus Media and LaFace Records. 

You can find out more about Lit Atlanta and Books, Booze & Beats at litatlanta.com.

We hope you enjoy the episode. 

Molly Brodak | Episode 17

Things get rather inspirational on this episode. Not really surprising since this week our guest was Molly Brodak.

Molly is tenacious, which is evident by how she doesn't go halfway at anything. Her poetry often highlights the spaces between nature and art (check out her reading the poem "Triumph" in her backyard we recorded last year), she wrote Bandit, a non-fiction book about growing up with a bank-robbing father who was arrested by the FBI, and recently she was a contestant on ABC's The Great American Baking Show (which ended up not airing the full season due to sexual misconduct allegations against judge Johnny Iuzzini).

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Molly Brodak is the author of A Little Middle of the Night (University of Iowa Press, 2010) and Bandit: A Daughter's Memoir (Grove Atlantic, 2016). Her work has appeared recently in Granta, PENAmerica, Gulf Coast, and The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2016.

Molly talks about the heartbreak that comes from having work left unseen because of the network's choice to pull the show was more a punishment to them, but we also ended up having a conversation about the unavoidable fear that comes from putting yourself out in the world for your art.

“I’m not not scared. I’m scared too. I’m just doing it anyway, " she said about the new non-fiction book she is working on that will be taking her to Ireland. “I’m scared but I’m still gonna write. You just move through it.”

You can check out Molly's great baking at The Kookie House

We hope you enjoy the episode. 

Jared Yates Sexton | Episode 16

We're back! Welcome to Season two! We've got really great guests coming up on this season, and for our first episode, we decided to swing for the fences.

Originally, we had planned for Jared Yates Sexton to come on our first season but due to scheduling issues, it wasn't possible until now. Recorded in a comfy room of the Hyatt in Midtown right after Jared had read at MailChimp, for their Get Lit at MailChimp series, we sat down to talk with Jared about what it was like to go from writing prose to the style of journalism in his newest book, The People Are Going To Rise Like The Waters Upon Your Shore: A Story of American Rage.

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Jared Yates Sexton is a writer and journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The New Republic, Politico, The Daily Beast, and elsewhere. His book The People Are Going To Rise Like The Waters Upon Your Shore: A Story of American Rage is available from Counterpoint Press. Currently he serves as an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Georgia Southern University.

“Fiction is about hiding behind the shield and veneer of fiction," was how he described it when giving us the reason that a fiction writer can never be elected to political office. That safety would be cut to shreds in the news scroll. This was something Jared had to think about since he was asked to run (and declined). 

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In what is a very great and inebriated conversation things gets heavy into the thick weeds of existentialism by way of Erich Fromm and trying to understand the desire to be removed from society through supporting the deconstruction of a shared society. In between stops are made on the great literary lyrics of Warren Zevon.

We hope you enjoy the episode.

SEASON 1 EPILOGUE | EPISODE 15

The bookend for our first season has come. We're going to be taking a little break until early next year but we have a lot planned for next season. 

In this episode, John and Matt highlight what to be on the lookout for next year from Lit & Bruised and we play a recording of Cris Gray (of Dad's Garage) from Dashboard Light from 2016 and Molly Brodak reading her poem "Triumph" in a field recording from her backyard. 

Thanks everyone for listening as we figured this out with no plans on stopping. Atlanta's literary scene is like no other and with a hustle to match. 

Be on the lookout for more archived readings, exclusive content, and please leave us a review on whichever platform you listen to us on. 

Jason Mallory | Episode 14

When Jason Mallory came by big questions were quickly on deck for discussion. Like, are Facebook and Instagram scamming creatives? How can creatives promote their art without getting hustle exhaustion? Why doesn’t John watch cartoons?

Jason had no intention to read anything but we coerced him into sharing his hysterical piece, “I Regret to Inform You That a Pizza Wizard Has Cast a Spell on You.”

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Jason Mallory is a writer and show-runner in Atlanta, GA. He co-produces the live talk show "Modugno & Mallory Present" with Julian Modugno every month and publishes comedy articles featuring local contributors on Scene and Song. He lives in Cabbagetown next to a big statue of a La Croix can.

We hope you enjoy the episode.

Halloween Reading | Episode 13

Happy Halloween!

What better way to celebrate today than with a reading of scary stories read by some of Atlanta's best writers. These stories are surely creepy, ghoulish, and downright devilish in their exploration of what brings fear into our hearts and minds.

This episode is like going to a reading at the Highland Inn & Ballroom Lounge without having to pay, park, or have awkward conversations with other writers.

Kelley Outler teaches English Literature and Theater in the Atlanta area. When she isn't marking student writing, she is crafting her own weird little pieces.

Jason Stanaland is a writer from Decatur, GA who writes about what he experiences as he navigates the world through airplanes, hammocks, screen porches and pine forests. Jason has been featured on The Five Hundred and author of rhythmicbursts.com.

Derek Prall is an award-winning journalist and fiction writer. He’s the managing editor of a small national publication that no one has ever heard of, and he’s read his work at Transgression and Phoenix Fest. He considers himself to be a relatively sound person – at least by professional writer standards, but he has trouble sleeping. Some nights he stays up late doing crossword puzzles, picking locks or sharpening his long, thin knives.

Gina Rickicki is an Atlanta-based actor/improviser/writer that is thrilled to be sharing a spooky story for this Halloween. She ran the live lit punk show Naked City for 4 years, and has also shared her writing at Write Club, Scene Missing, Bleux Stockings, and other random places around town. She acts all over, and is currently (as of original airing) in "Morningside" at Georgia Ensemble Theatre. She's also a General Company member at Dad's Garage Theatre, where she hosts a bonkers Facebook livestream every Sunday at 11am called "Gina's Garbage Hour", a show that exists solely for a silly, weird hour of relief from the heaviness of the world. 

Music provided in this episode Bruther Brown and Monochrome Sweatsuit of Crispin Wah.

We hope you enjoy the episode and have a happy Halloween! 

Adam Robinson | Episode 12

When people stop by for an episode of Lit and Bruised they sometimes bring something with them. Adam Robinson came in like an indie lit Santa bringing not only a handful of the newest release from his press, Publishing Genius, but he also brought crafted drinks, and a special guest for a special announcement.

Great conversation with Adam about the hobbies that drive creativity, publishing, and we might have a reading tour of just Wisconsin in the works now with Adam. It’s not a new idea and it’s not the worst idea, but it is one worth calling a tour, The Worsening.

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Adam Robinson runs Publishing Genius, an award-winning small press, and Real Pants, a website about literature and the new literary community. He works as a publishing consultant and has taught publishing courses in the MFA program at University of Baltimore and presented at numerous other colleges and publishing programs. 

His first book, Adam Robison and Other Poems, was nominated for the Goodreads Poetry Award, and he self-published his second book, Say Poem, in 2010. He is also the editor of Our Primary Focus, an e-book about small press culture as described in interviews with writers, book sellers and publishers.

We hope you enjoy the episode.

Laura Relyea | Episode 11

For the past few years there has been no way to talk about Atlanta’s art scene without also bringing up Laura Relyea. This is with damn good reason.

From hosting amazing readings under Vouched and Transgression (alongside John), to being the Executive Editor of ArtsATL Laura has been a champion of all things literature in our city.

This comes with sad news though as Laura is preparing to leave the humidity and hustle for the quiet farm life of Vermont. 

So we caught up with Laura to ask why she’s leaving and important questions like what restaurants she’d marry, fuck, or kill.

Laura also reads for the first time from her novel that she’s working on.

Laura Relyea is the former Executive Editor of ArtsATL. Her essays, reviews, poems, and features have been published in Oxford American, The Bitter SouthernerThought CatalogMonkey BicycleNecessary Fiction, and elsewhere.

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We hope you enjoy the episode, and for the first time Lit & Bruised can be streamed on Soundcloud

Alex Gregor | Episode 10

Time flies. It was only two months ago that we sat down with poet and publisher Alex Gregor on what was the first podcast we taped.

This episode starts with a recording of Alex reading from his collection, Faucet, at the Muse /A Journal release party for issue #3. 

Alex talks about working with translators for OOMPH! Press, his reading series Dirty South that he curated when living in Atlanta, and his failed attempts at spreading chicken-wing love in Italy. 

Alex Gregor is a writer, editor, and teacher currently living in Rome, Italy. He is one of the founding editors of OOMPH! Press. His chapbook, FAUCET, was selected as a finalist for The Atlas Review Chapbook Series.

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His work has appeared in Queen Mob’s Tea House, NOÖ, DELUGE, Entropy, Real Pants, Fanzine, Deer Bear Wolf Magazine, Muse /A Journal, LOTUS-EATER, and elsewhere. Follow him online at www.marginalcomets.com.

We hope you enjoy the episode.

Tom Cheshire | Episode 9

Little bit different of an episode this time around.

For those who know, Tom Cheshire is an artist all to his own. He’s known mainly as the frontman and troubadour of bands like The Rent Boys, All Night Drug Prowling Wolves, and West End Motel (a band he co-founded with Brent Hinds of Mastodon).

Tom’s poetry has the same flair, honesty, and heart that is in his music. We’re honored to not only have Tom come on to chat and read his work, but he was also joined by Brian Kincheloe of West End Motel.

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This episode is bookended by a performance done on the street side in the Highlands. Tom and Brian play two new songs, “Another Day” and “Not Messing Around”. 

Tom Cheshire is a poet and songwriter. He recently put out a collection of poems last year called Unevenly Yolked and has a record coming out called Bad with Names, Good with Faces on December 1st with his band West End Motel.

We hope you enjoy the episode.

Blake Butler | Episode 8

Author Blake Butler came by the apartment a few weeks ago. Currently he is working on a new novel, so we decided to set a ground rule for the episode: no literature talk.

It was a great time catching up with Blake as we examined the economy of our childhood (gotta sell garbage for a profit… or a pencil case) and conspiracy theories.

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Blake Butler is the author of five book-length works of fiction, including 300,000,000 (Harper Perennial), Sky Saw (Tyrant Books), There is No Year (Harper Perennial), Scorch Atlas (Featherproof Books), and Ever (Calamari Press), as well as the nonfictional Nothing: A Portrait of Insomnia (Harper Perennial). His fourth novel, Alice Knott, will be published by Riverhead in 2019.

We’ll be sure to have Blake on again, maybe to talk about books, maybe not.

We hope you enjoy the episode.

Matt and John will be speaking at the Modern Media Conference this Thursday at Georgia State University.

Prose, Poetry and Pods: Utilizing Creative Writing and Community Through Podcasting And Beyond

Whether wanting to start a podcast or a reading series the architecture of the artistic community around you will hold the narrative needed to start. We’ve got the hosts of Atlanta-based literary podcast (Lit & Bruised) here to talk about how they started their show and how they’ve worked to nurture a community in readings and online.
Matt DeBenedictis & John Carroll, writers and hosts of Lit & Bruised
218 Student Center East
#MMCpodcast #MMClit

Click here, if you'd like more info on the Modern Media Conference at GSU.

iTunes | Google Play | Spreaker

The Five Hundred | Episode 7

The Five Hundred is a monthly flash-fiction challenge that has been going on since 2011. Every single month there is a prompt released through their mailing list and anyone can submit their work where it will be posted online. Over the years a strong community has grown out of the website, which has also given way to an anthology book and now a monthly reading series held the last Sunday of the month at Kavarna Coffee shop.

For our first reading episode, we were joined by the founder Winston Blake Wheeler Ward, and regular contributors Alayna Huft Tucker and Benjamin Carr. We get down to the grit of the discipline of writing short fiction regularly and how it stretches anyone's art into new directions.

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Winston Blake Wheeler Ward apologizes for all the names. Don't ask him to explain it, he can't. Despite having so many goddamn names, Winston somehow still managed to found the Five Hundred in February 2011 and contribute every month since. He is also the creator and host of Case Studies, a monthly reading and discussion event.

Alayna Huft Tucker is a writer living in Decatur, GA whose work has appeared in The Five Hundred and Gutwrench Journal. She’s a frequent performer for many Atlanta literary events such as Write Club, Bleux Stockings Society, Transgression, and others. She is the author of The Japanese Pantry.

Benjamin Carr is a writer, editor, and storyteller. He is the co-founder of Gutwrench Journal. His work has appeared in The Guardian, Pembroke Magazine and The Five Hundred. His one-act play 'Ground Chuck' will be staged Oct. 30 at Onstage Atlanta. Other work has appeared at PBA 30, the Center for Puppetry Arts and the North Avenue Lounge.

We hope you enjoy the episode.

Myke Johns | Episode 6

Myke Johns is a public radio producer in Atlanta, Georgia, where he co-anchors WRITE CLUB, a live lit series which kicks the ass of most any poetry reading you’d care to name. His radio work has garnered awards from the Georgia Association of Broadcasters and the Associated Press. His writing has appeared in The Bitter Southerner, Creative Loafing Atlanta, SLAB, the anthology "Bare-Knuckled Lit" and several other fine places. He records punk songs about being a dad under the band name Meaning of Everything.

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This episode gets deep and very quickly as Myke addresses why he's a reformed Facebook ranter after having a "come to El Guapo" moment. Of course with any conversation with Myke rage and passion are on deck about music reissues that don't honor the original artwork.

Myke reads a recently published piece, "First, There Is a Mountain". John also bullies him into reading his favorite of Myke's work, "Escalation", which can be seen in text form over at The Five-Hundred

You can follow some of his writing at his blog

His new album can be listened to and bought over at Meaning of Everything's Bandcamp page.

We hope you enjoy the episode.

Carrie Lorig | Episode 5

Carrie Lorig is a poet and essayist. She is the author of The Pulp vs. The Throne, published by Artifice Books. She has published several chapbooks including The Book of Repulsive Women (Essay Press), Reading as a Wildflower Activist (H_NGM_N), and NODS (Magic Helicopter Press). Essays can be found at Entropy, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, Fanzine and elsewhere. 

Carrie stopped by a few weeks ago where we got to catch up with her plans to do a reading series, now that she is no longer hosting one at Emory University.

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Currently, she is working on an upcoming collection titled Collection / Agency. She reads an eleven-minute poem, "The Blood Barn", that is not to be missed. You can feel the movement of body and passion in her words while she walks us through this stellar piece. 

We hope you enjoy the episode.

DOPE GIRLS | Beca Grimm and Katie Lambert | Episode 4

Dope Girls Zine has quickly made a name for itself in Atlanta and beyond. Focused on the idea that there is much to get done while high, the zine is also trying to shine a lighter on the often ignored feminine side of cannabis culture.

We sat down with co-founder Beca Grimm and contributor Katie Lambert to talk cannabis, and the fundraising focus of the zine.

Beca Grimm is an Atlanta-based editor and writer. Besides holding the Dope Girls helm with Rachel Hortman and Krystal Visions, she's weekend editor at NYLON and regularly contributes writing to GQ, Rolling Stone, Glamour, and others. Reproductive justice is her major philanthropic focus.

Katie Lambert is mostly, but not always, a health writer. Her work has appeared on The Awl, Racked, and HLN.

You can check out more from Dope Girls Zine at www.dopegirlszine.org and follow @dopegirlszine

* Full Disclaimer. John loosened up by using legal CBD. We don't recommend using a body relaxer before recording a podcast. Especially if your style would be considered manic. 

Theresa Davis | Episode 3

Theresa Davis is the co-founder of the Art Amok Slam Team and is the 2011 winner of Women of the World Poetry Slam Competition. May 22nd is Theresa Davis Day in Atlanta because she is just that much of a badass.

She is the author of two poetry collections, After This We Go Dark and Drowned: A Mermaid’s Manifesto. She produces and host such events as Poems and Pasties, Madmen and Poets, and is the host of the long running open mic series at Java Monkey on Sundays. 

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Theresa Davis was the first guest to perform a poem on Lit & Bruised, and we say performed instead of read because she recites from memory.

We ask Theresa how she's able to recall her pieces with such passion, then we all take drugs together hoping we can become memory masters. Theresa talks about the path she's taken to become a full-time artist, which has included tough decisions, like her most recent one to step down from group poetry slam competitions to focus on big plans she has in the works.

You can follow her @piraterockstar and check out www.theresa-davis.com.

We hope you enjoy the episode and please pardon the technical issues.

Topher Payne | EPISODE 2

Playwright Topher Payne stopped by a few weeks ago.

We caught up about the differences in writing plays to screenplays for Hallmark Channel movies. When talking about reworking his play Angry Fags for audiences in our current political environment the conversation shifted to spirituality and trying to understand what the role of an artist is in this climate of vast political differences and conflict. Also, lots of hippy shit.

Left to Right: John (wearing his Lit & Bruised uniform), Topher (turning on the charm), Matt (wearing one of his only non hip-hop tees)

Left to Right: John (wearing his Lit & Bruised uniform), Topher (turning on the charm), Matt (wearing one of his only non hip-hop tees)

Topher Payne has been named Atlanta's Best Local Playwright by readers of Creative Loafing seven times and was one of "10 Playwrights You Should Know" by Southern Theatre Magazine.

His works for stage have included, Evelyn in Purgatory, Swell Party, Angry Fags, and Perfect Arrangement

You can follow him at @topherpayne

We hope you enjoy the episode.

INTRODUCTION | Episode 1

Welcome to the first episode of Lit & Bruised: An Atlanta Literary Podcast. What better way to start season one than for us to introduce ourselves and explain how Lit & Bruised got started.

Lit & Bruised is an Atlanta based literary podcast hosted by John Carroll and Matt DeBenedictis.

ATL’s literary art community is known for its boundary pushing styles, readings that are parties, and writers unafraid to push themselves while fighting to unite a community separated by deep transit limitations.  Lit & Bruised is documenting this community that we love.

Episodes are long form conversations with local writers that feature readings and audio recordings from our always growing archive. New episodes are released weekly through iTunes and Spreaker.

This episode features field recorded audio from Alayna Huft Tucker from the The Five Hundred’s book release, We Wrote a Book, and Topher Payne reading at Write Club. Both selections are from 2016 highlighting community and surviving Atlanta while embracing the beauty of the scars that can come from both.  

Left to Right: Matt's first reading | Purge Reading Poster (John's first reading hosted by Matt) | John reading at the Star Bar Circa 2012

Left to Right: Matt's first reading | Purge Reading Poster (John's first reading hosted by Matt) | John reading at the Star Bar Circa 2012

Mentioned in this episode the It's Not Me, It's You reading from 2011, Matt's first ever reading at Wordsmith Bookstore (RIP), and John reading at the Star Bar (probably being heckled by some drunk biker). Also, if you're wondering where the groove and funk of our opening music came from, Monochrome Sweatsuit is who to check out.