Spotlight: Vouched Atlanta

Interview by Jenny Sadre-Orafai

I recently caught up with the always delightful Laura Straub of Vouched Atlanta. Vouched Books seeks to “promote small press literature.” Their strategy is three-pronged. First, they are masters of the guerrilla book store. They set up tables of books at various craft, art, and literature events. Here’s the catch:  They only carry books that they have read and love. Prong two is Vouched Presents, their reading series. Vouched brought Tyler Gobble, Melysa Martinez, Christopher Newgent, Amy McDaniel, Brian Oliu, Jesse Bradley, and Matt Bell to Atlanta last month. And, finally, is Vouched Online in which they keep Vouched followers in the loop with where they’re setting up and when readings are. They also maintain a consistent ethic in promoting work they enjoy online. Vouched is a real gem for both readers and writers.

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JS: How did Vouched Atlanta get started?

LS: Vouched Atlanta officially launched last July. After the success of the first Vouched table in Indianapolis (operated by good friend and Vouched Founder, Christopher Newgent) I began to toy with the idea of launching my own table–a desire rooted in wanting to become more involved with Atlanta’s lit scene as well as wanting to help independently published literature in front of new audiences. Christopher agreed it was time for Vouched to colonize and Vouched Atlanta was born!

What are some poetry titles you carry? And, can you review each of these in one word?
The Trees, The Trees (Heather Christle, Octopus Books) — Incantations.
Correct Animal (Rebecca Farivar, Octopus Books) — Sinewy.
I Don’t Mind if you are feeling Alone (Thomas Patrick Levy, Yes Yes Books) — Distressed.
We Take Me Apart (Molly Gaudry, Mud Luscious Press) — Enchanting.
Bend, Break (Robert Pfeiffer, Plain View Press) — Honest.
Where We Think It Should Go (Claire Becker, Octopus Books) — Instinctive.
Just a Little Piece of Heartburn (Tom Cheshire, Safety Third Enterprises) — Debauched.
People Are Tiny In Paintings of China (Cynthia Arrieu-King, Octopus Books) — Delicate.
The Difficult Farm (Heather Christle, Octopus Books) — Whimsical.

Promoting online publishing is important to Vouched. Are there any specific presses and journals that can do no wrong?

Wigleaf really busted out some hefty goodness recently with their top 50 list this year. PANKthe Collagist, and Elimae never fail.

Can you tell us about Vouched Presents?

Running the reading series is one of my favorite parts of running Vouched Atlanta! At Vouched Books we joke that we are “where literature goes to shake its ass,” and the reading series is a testament to that. It is wonderful to host and promote touring/visiting authors when they come to Atlanta and introduce them to the Atlantan literary community, which is really booming right now. I hope to have more and more visiting writers in this year’s readings. That being said, Atlanta has a wide variety of incredible wordsmiths and I’m excited and honored to continue giving them a venue to share their work.

What new titles does Vouched plan to offer?

I have some really great stuff coming to the table: False Spring by Gina Myers (Spooky Girlfriend Press), Poetry, Poetry, Poetry by Peter Davis (Bloof Books), and Fjords Vol. 1 by Zachary Schomburg (Black Ocean). I’m also introducing a few new prose titles: Falcons on the Floor by Justin Sirois (Publishing Genius Press), Cataclysm Baby by Matt Bell and [C.] by Various Authors (both from Mud Luscious Press).

Where can we find you?

Write Club Atlanta, True Story, and Solar Anus reading series have all been kind enough to invite me to set up the table at their reading series regularly, which I am eternally grateful for. On June 2nd I’ll have a booth at Artlantis–an arts festival organized by Mark Basehore and the folks at Beep Beep Gallery. There’s the possibility for more readings to come about in the meantime, but right now the next reading I have scheduled is the first annual Very Vouched Birthday Party at the Goatfarm on July 18th. That reading will serve as a fundraiser for WINK and the Wren’s Nest Kipp Scribes tutoring programs. More information about that event can be found at Vouched in the upcoming weeks.