I never have taken a vacation before. Since 2001, I traveled with the intent to do something literary (such as the National Poetry Slam or a book tour). The things that happened between readings/competitions were just ways to pass the time until it was time to perform.
It was a little under a month into our relationship when The National announced their first show of their tour would be in Brooklyn. I asked Laura she wanted to go and she was down. It was then we also started shopping around for places on Airbnb, as Laura’s never stayed in Brooklyn before, just Manhattan. Then other events came available (the Yankees, Couplet Reading Series, Mellow Pages Library, The Master Builder at BAM) and our one concert became a full five days of doing cool, largely non-touristy tourist things mostly in Brooklyn, briefly in the Bronx and Manhattan.


My library does not carry the books Mellow Pages carry. I think most libraries don’t carry the books Mellow Pages carries. It’s a small space, but an amazing space. It’s incredibly cool to recognize a lot of the writers on the walls, the shelves. If there was a way I could do what they do in Orlando full time, I would. What they are doing is incredible. If you can, donate to them, whether books or money. We need to keep places like Mellow Pages afloat however possible.


Couplet Reading Series was the best poetry reading I’ve been a part of in a long time. The caliber of work was inspiring. I forgot what that felt like after coming from a poetry event as I’m used to coming away from the ones in Orlando with persistent, low levels of rage at best.

The non-literary highlights

  • The basement apartment we stayed in was in a perfect location. Airbnb continues to be awesome.
  • Seeing a home run hit for the first time ever live. Then, seeing Mariano Rivera clean up the mess Joba Chamberlain left after Joba allowed a three-run homer.
  • The National’s first arena show was amazing. I want to see them again in a smaller venue as I did miss that intimacy.
  • Watching The Master Builder at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. John Turturro is an amazing actor. I understand why he does shitty movies (they pay more). If you ever get the chance to see him act in a play, do it.
  • Blue Bottle Coffee and their smores with moonshine distilled marshmallows.
  • The food in Williamsburg/Greenpoint. Just before we got to LGA this morning, I ate a bagel that tasted life changing (spinach parmesan).
  • Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. I’ll admit to being almost terrified while doing it, as the worst case scenarios played out in my head.
  • Travelling with my girlfriend. This was the first time I traveled with someone out of the state since 2010. She is an amazing travel companion and I can’t wait to travel with her again.


I have a poem over at Housefire, which you can read here. You can also read my contribution to Robert Duncan Gray’s essay on consumption here.

This Tuesday, There Will Be Words has its first all women line up. I wish it didn’t take two years to make this happen. I don’t know how to get more women to read, as well as LGBTQ writers to read at my show (any suggestions will help). The Orlando Sentinel did a nice little blurb here. If you are in Orlando, come out.

Finally, Orlando Weekly‘s Best of Orlando 2013 poll is out and There Will Be Words should be voted as best literary series as a.) we welcome writers from all backgrounds, b.) anyone has the opportunity to read for the show as long as the work is good, c.) there are no restrictions on genre and d.) we do really cool events that no other reading series in Central Florida does (flash fiction slam). I’ll give you bonus points if you vote for me as best poet. Vote over here.


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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 iheartfailure.net.

Latest Posts By J. Bradley


performances, poetry, publication news


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