Saturday, I judged in an official capacity a poetry slam for the Fringe Smackdown. I was the villain, or what slam refers to as “the East German judge”. The competitors were at an incredible disadvantage because I knew all of them too well writing and performance wise. My feedback wasn’t scathing, for the most part. The lowest score I gave was a 6, the highest a 9.5. The boos were a little scary at first because I’m normally booing at the judges but it steeled my resolve and made me that more consistent. I would probably do it again.

Last night, I read in the first ever Orlando Literary Death Match. Gregory Sherl drew against Ryan Rivas and thanks to Greg’s paper bag of poems and insulting the one of the judges, he moved on to the grand finale. I drew against Ashley Inguanta. Sadly, I did not move on to the grand finale, but I read one of my favorite stories to a packed room and they liked it a lot. You can read “Bury Me With It” here.

The grand finale was to celebrate Jack Kerouac’s connection to Orlando, Ashley and Greg had to dip Nerf darts into icing and shoot them at a picture of Jack Kerouac. The winner was who could hit his mouth. I helped Greg dip the darts into the vanilla icing and load the gun. He outgunned Ashley and won Orlando’s first Literary Death Match.

Here’s a clue on how well attended the show was.

I should have taken a picture during the show. Place full of awesome people.

Seeing so many new faces last night gave me so much hope for the long term literary health here in Orlando. I can’t wait for the next one to come to Orlando.

After the show, I took Todd Zuniga (the creator and host of Literary Death Match), Greg, and his awesome, talented girlfriend, Kat Dixon to get a slice after the show and then to The Matador, where we drank with Ryan Rivas, Ashley Inguanta, JC Silva and his wife, Tim Dicks and his lovely fiancée, Sarah, and some of the other folks that came to see Literary Death Match. I didn’t make it home until 11 am, completing my first ever walk of shame. It was such an awesome night. I’m glad talking to Todd in DC got the ball rolling on this. Burrow Press was a tremendous help in bringing a show like Literary Death Match to Orlando.

There Will Be Words is coming along nicely. I almost have all the way through October and November booked. The next one is on June 14. Looking forward to that tremendously.

This year is becoming the year of the J. Bradley chapbook with this, Our Hearts Are Power Ballads, the chapbook version of my story coming out in June on HOUSEFIRE. I have one more to add. It looks like Corrupt Press will publish a chapbook version of my epic “How Esmeralda Estrus Got Her Revenge” later this year. More details to come. This one will require a release party and a reading of the poem in its entirety.

That’s it from me. Enjoy what is left of your Memorial Day.



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About J. Bradley

J. Bradley's is a Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize nominated writer whose work has appeared in numerous literary journals including decomP, Hobart, and Prairie Schooner. He was the Interviews Editor of PANK, the Flash Fiction Editor of NAP, and the Web Editor of Monkeybicycle. He is the author of the poetry collection Dodging Traffic (Ampersand Books, 2009), the novella Bodies Made of Smoke (HOUSEFIRE, 2012), and the graphic poetry collection The Bones of Us (YesYes Books, 2014), illustrated by Adam Scott Mazer. He is the curator of the Central Florida reading series There Will Be Words and lives at

Latest Posts By J. Bradley


performances, poetry, publication news


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