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This Business Of Music & Poetry Podcast

This Business Of Music & Poetry Podcast

By Michael Amidei & Cliff Brooks
"This Business Of Music & Poetry Podcast" is all about how to make a real-world living from your creativity & passion. Hosted by Michael Amidei (author, poet, musician, & host of "World Poetry Open Mic", "The Michael Amidei Show") and Clifford Brooks (author, poet, founder of The Southern Collective Experience, and the host of "Dante's Old South" on NPR.)
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How Music Leaves The Body (Interview with Lee Herrick)
In this episode, Clifford Brooks and Michael Amidei interview poet and professor Lee Herrick.  Lee Herrick ( is the author of three books of poems, Scar and Flower, Gardening Secrets of the Dead, and This Many Miles from Desire. He is co-editor, with Leah Silvieus, of The World I Leave You: Asian American Poets on Faith and Spirit (forthcoming Spring 2020, Orison Books). He served as Fresno Poet Laureate from 2015-2017. His poems appear widely in literary magazines, anthologies, and textbooks including The Bloomsbury Review, Columbia Poetry Review, Berkeley Poetry Review, The Normal School, The Poetry Foundation, ZZYZYVA, Seeds from a Silent Tree: Writing by Korean Adoptees, Highway 99: A Literary Journey Through California's Great Central Valley, 2nd edition, The Place That Inhabits Us: Poems from the San Francisco Bay Watershed, One for the Money: The Sentence as Poetic Form, Indivisible: Poems of Social Justice, and HERE: Poems for the Planet, with a foreword by the Dalai Lama (Copper Canyon, March 2019), among others.​ Herrick is on the advisory board of The Adoption Museum Project and has traveled throughout Latin America and Asia and has given readings throughout the United States. He was born in Daejeon, South Korea, adopted at ten months old, and raised in California. He lives with his daughter and wife in Fresno, California. He teaches at Fresno City College and in the MFA Program at Sierra Nevada College. ​ ​
June 24, 2021
Do The Work To Find Your Community (Interview with Gary Chapman)
In this episode, Michael Amidei and Clifford Brooks interview Gary Chapman.  Gary Chapman ( is Professor of Painting and Drawing at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He holds an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art, as well as a BA and BS from Berea College. Chapman has had over 70 solo exhibitions with institutions such as The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, The Arts Center of St. Petersburg, FL; University of Cincinnati, University of Georgia, and the Indianapolis Art Center. He has also participated in numerous group and invitational exhibitions with regional, national and international venues. Chapman was awarded and named a Joan Mitchell CALL Legacy Artist in 2013 and has received numerous grants and fellowships, including a 1996 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Painting from the Southern Arts Federation and a 2002 and 1994 Individual Artist Fellowships from the Alabama State Council on the Arts. His work has been reviewed extensively and is published in over 20 catalogs and books including the 4 Editions of New American Paintings. 13 Paintings by Chapman have been purchased for the collections of ten museums in the southeast region as well as by many corporate and private collections throughout the country.
June 18, 2021
The Art Of Growing Memoir (Interview with Megan Baxter)
In this episode, Michael Amidei and Clifford Brooks interview Megan Baxter.  Megan Baxter ( holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Vermont College of the Fine Arts and a BFA in Poetry from Goddard College. In 2004, when she graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy as a Creative Writing Major, Megan was honored as a Presidential Scholar in the Arts. While working for the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities Megan taught “pop-up” writing workshops at public schools in South Carolina, including poetry writing sessions in under-served and at-risk educational communities. In 2019 and 2020 she returned to Interlochen Arts Camp as an instructor of high-school level fiction and nonfiction. Megan’s first book ‘The Coolest Monsters, A Collection of Essays’ was published in 2018 by Texas Review Press. Her memoir ‘Farm Girl’ is forthcoming from Green Writers Press in 2021. Megan is pleased to announce that her essay collection 'The Body(Electric) will be published by Mad Creek Books from Ohio State Press as part of their 21st Century Essay Series. Megan is currently seeking representation for her debut novel. Megan has won numerous national awards including a Pushcart Prize. Her work has been listed in The Best American Essays of 2019. Recent publications included pieces in The Threepenny Review, Hotel Amerika, The Florida Review, and Creative Nonfiction Magazine. Megan serves as a mentor to young writers and loves developing cross-genre and innovative creative writing pedagogy for her workshops and classes. Megan lives in New Hampshire where she loves walking her dogs, running, and cooking with local foods. She teaches writing at Colby-Sawyer College.
June 12, 2021
What It Takes To Be In The Music Industry (Interview with Maal The Pimp)
In this episode, Clifford Brooks and Michael Amidei interview Maal The Pimp.  Maal The Pimp ( released his first solo album Business As Usual in the Spring of 2003, after appearing on numerous independent projects since 1998. In 2004, Maal graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a degree in Recording Industry: Music Business. He then relocated to New Orleans, La to work with former Cash Money Records platinum artist B.G. under his newly established label Chopper City Records, which was distributed thru Koch/E-1, Assylum, & then Atlantic Records. During his time at Chopper City Records, Maal was head of Marketing & Promotion, In-House Studio Engineer, Booking Agent, & Road Manager for all artists signed to the label. In 2005 while still at Chopper City, Maal launched his company Pimpoholic Entertainment & Booking, releasing several mixtapes, albums, & documentaries under his own imprint. Due to his expertise & experience in the music industry, along with his college degree, Pimpoholic Entertainment & Booking renders several services such as management, legal consulting, reading/writing contracts, marketing & promotion, event booking/planning, video treatments, mixing/mastering, & label building. Maal The Pimp is more than just an artist, HE’S A BRAND!!!!
June 4, 2021
10,000 Hours (Interview with Jimmy James)
In this episode, Clifford Brooks and Michael Amidei interview guitarist Jimmy James.  Jimmy James ( a man of another era- an old soul w/ an encyclopedic knowledge of 60’s soul music & the creative drive to evolve that sound into the future. His guitar phrasing, tone, and temperament are something truly creative and inspiring. His unique tube amp guitar sound defines classic and is a vital part of the WeCoast sound. Born and raised in Seattle on a steady diet of soul music, gritty R&B, blues, and Jimi Hendrix. Through his influences and his own deep explorations into music, he has crafted something truly special & original. He is the guitar man behind The True Loves, Tiffany Wilson, F2D aka Funky 2 Death, and so much more. He is a part of the Delvon Lamar Organ Trio. He is also an original member of F2D aka Funky 2 Death, the legendary live Friday night show at Seattle’s Seamonster Lounge.
May 24, 2021
Every Day Is Your Shot (Interview with Dave Brandwein from Turkuaz)
In this episode, Michael and Clifford interview Dave Brandwein.  Dave Brandwein is the frontman, guitarist, and one of the creative forces behind the phenomenal band Turkuaz. Balancing male-female harmonies, strutting guitars, wild horn arrangements, and interminable grooves, a spirit takes shape on stage nightly for Turkuaz via larger-than-life performances. Among numerous critical plaudits, The New Yorker claimed, “[Turkuaz] delivers horn-filled funk incorporating elements of R&B, psychedelic pop, gospel, Afro-pop, New Wave, classic rock, and just about any genre that gets people dancing.”  The Brooklyn-based nonet—Dave Brandwein [guitar, vocals], Taylor Shell [bass], Craig Brodhead [guitar, keys], Michelangelo Carubba [drums], Chris Brouwers [trumpet, keys], Greg Sanderson [tenor sax], Josh Schwartz [baritone sax, vocals], Sammi Garett [vocals], and Shira Elias [vocals]—ignite an explosion of energy punctuated by neon hues, deft musicality, and show-stopping singalongs on their newest EP, Kuadrochrome. Touring incessantly in support of four full-length studio albums, EPs and live releases, they’ve lit up stages everywhere from Bonnaroo, Hulaween, Okeechobee, Electric Forest, and Mountain Jam to Telluride Jazz, High Sierra, and Lock’n, in between gracing stages at legendary spots such as Red Rocks, Terminal 5, and The Fillmore, to name a few. Since emerging in 2011 with their self-titled debut, the group have quietly animated a movement. 
May 15, 2021
The Aesthetics Of Gratitude (Interview with Neal Francis)
In this episode, Michael Amidei and Clifford Brooks interview the phenomenal musician, Neal Francis.  Neal Francis (  “I just wanted to be honest about everything, from my musical influences to my story,” muses Neal Francis. After years of dishonest living—consumed by drugs, alcohol, and addiction—such sincerity is jarring from the 30-year-old Chicago-based musician. Born Neal Francis O’Hara, the piano prodigy found himself touring Europe by the age of 18 with Muddy Waters’ son and backing up other prominent blues artists coast-to-coast. In 2012, Francis joined popular instrumental funk band The Heard. With Francis at the creative helm, The Heard transformed into a national act, touring with boogaloo progenitors The New Mastersounds and chart toppers The Revivalists and appearing at Jazz Fest and Bear Creek. As The Heard’s star rose, however, Francis sunk deeper into addiction. Once a promising sideman, by 2015 he had been fired from his band, evicted from his apartment, and was perilously close to self-destruction. “When you get close to death like that you can feel it,” Francis recalls. An alcohol-induced seizure that year led to a broken femur, dislocated arm, and, finally, the realization that he needed to get clean. The journey from a hospital bed to launching his solo career was neither predictable nor straightforward. There were musical fits and starts, relapses, and broken relationships. Yet the overwhelming passion driving Francis in this second act has been an abundance of creative energy. “Drinking held my music in a half-cocked slingshot. I was always so consumed by drugs and alcohol that I didn’t have the time, money, or creative energy to do it. Sobriety let it loose.” Determined to realize the songs swirling in his head, Francis assembled a crack team of musicians, calling on bassist Mike Starr (The Heard) and drummer PJ Howard (The Revivalists, The Heard). He linked up with producer and analog-obsessive Sergio Rios (Orgone, Cee Lo Green, Alicia Keys) and self-funded a trip to Killion Sound in Los Angeles to record the initial batch of material. “I learned to trust my instincts in that room,” says Francis. Buoyed by classic horn arrangements and Rios’ fierce guitar work, the resulting tracks illuminate a lifetime spent studying the masters of rock and soul music. From the RMI electra-piano riff that kicks off “She’s A Winner” to the screaming organ swells of “This Time,” Francis and company let it all hang out. This is fun music, dance music. Yet verse after verse and chorus after chorus, Francis wrestles with his past in a straightforward manner: “It’s 5 o’clock in the morning, but I’m not home/ I’m surrounded by people, but I’m really alone.” Like Toussaint and Russell before him he’s married the upbeat rhythms of New Orleans R&B with the lyrical approach of a confessional singer/songwriter. The refrain on “This Time” serves as a foxhole prayer for a better future:  “Let me get it this time/I won’t let you down/Let me get it this time/I won’t fool around.”
April 9, 2021
The Audience Creates The Performer (Interview with Mario "The Maker Magician")
In this episode, Cliff Brooks and Michael Amidei interview Mario "The Make Magician"... Mario "the maker magician" Marchese ( is a NY-based (normally touring) performer with an all-ages theater show full of homespun magic, diy robotics, and punk rock slapstick. it's magic through the lens of the maker movement! for the virtual stage, Mario has developed an innovative virtual experience, available as a limited-engagement ticketed experience. versions Also available as a private Zoom event, live streams for clients' social media pages, or as custom video content. Mario has appeared on Sesame Street, NBC's Universal kids, HGTV, and live on tour with David Blaine, who calls him "the best kids magician in the world!!" he is the author of The maker magician's handbook: a beginner's guide to magic & making. And his lecture for magicians won him the 2020 lecture of the year award from penguin magic!
February 5, 2021
The Choice To Live As A Poet (Interview with Faylita Hicks)
In this episode, Cliff Brooks interviews Faylita Hicks.  Faylita Hicks ( @FaylitaHicks) is a queer Afro-Latinx activist, writer, and interdisciplinary artist born in Gardena, CA, but raised in Central Texas. They are the former Editor-in-Chief of Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review and the author of HoodWitch (Acre Books, 2019), which was a finalist for the 2020 Lambda Literary Award for Bisexual Poetry, the 2019 Balcones Poetry Prize, and the 2019 Julie Suk Award. They have been awarded fellowships and residencies from Tin House, Lambda Literary, Jack Jones Literary Arts, Broadway Advocacy, and the Right of Return USA, the first fellowship designed exclusively for previously incarcerated artists.
January 14, 2021
A Musical Legend Speaks (Interview with Alain Johannes)
In this episode, Cliff Brooks and Michael Amidei interview musical legend Alain Johannes.  Alain Johannes ( a musician, vocalist, and producer. He is a founding member of several bands, including the alternative rock group Eleven, and has been involved with acts such as hard rock band Queens of the Stone Age, Them Crooked Vultures, PJ Harvey, Chris Cornell, Arctic Monkeys, Mark Lanegan and The Desert Sessions, both as a musician and as a producer. In this interview, we dive into parts of his fascinating life, his views on music, and Alain gives his advice to musicians about how to live a life filled with the artform. All of this from a man who has done it at the top levels. Instagram @AlainJohannes
December 24, 2020
Finding Poetry In The Mists Of Experience (Interview with Angela Dribben)
In this episode, Cliff Brooks and Michael Amidei interview poet Angela Dribben.  Angela Dribben After 22 years as a massage therapist, Angela Dribben’s scoliotic spine gave her reason to retire and turn to writing. She found herself at Bread Loaf a few months later. Then onto Randolph College’s MFA program. From there her work made its way into journals such as Crab Creek Review, Cider Press Review, San Pedro River Review, Blue Mountain Review, and Crack the Spine. Her first collection, Everygirl is now out with Main Street Rag. Facebook Angela Dribben Everygirl at Main Street Rag Publishing Insta @angiedribben Twitter @angeladribben
December 11, 2020
Awakening Of The Shovel Guitar (Interview with Justin Johnson)
In this interview, Clifford Brooks and Michael Amidei interview guitar phenom Justin Johnson.  Justin Johnson (  has been hailed by Guitar World as a "must-see act", dubbed "The Wizard" for his mastery of stringed instruments, and recognized as Slidestock International Slide Guitar Champion. In 2014, Justin Johnson recorded his debut double album, "Smoke & Mirrors," a celebration of the art, history, and traditions behind handmade roots instruments. Along with 18 modern-built roots instruments representing builders from all over the world, the album resurrects the voices of 8 of the oldest cigar box guitars and banjos known to exist. Having never previously been recorded, these fragile relics emanate voices on the album that would otherwise have been lost to time. "Smoke & Mirrors" saw it's official release in March of 2014, as Johnson took the stage to present his signature approach to Roots music to thousands of fans at Port Fairy Folk Festival, Australia's largest and longest-running Folk Festival, thus ushering in the "2014/2015 Smoke & Mirrors World Tour," which spanned mainland Australia and Tasmania, North America, Europe, and the United Kingdom. In response to worldwide demand for his educational offerings, Justin Johnson founded "Roots Music School" in Nashville, TN. Under this umbrella, he has released an Instructional Series consisting of DVDs and books on Roots Music technique and theory. As Roots Music School founder, Justin Johnson has partnered with educators across the country to develop Roots Music curriculum for schools. Justin Johnson's original song "Midnight at the Crossroads," from his 'Smoke & Mirrors' double album, was licensed to Florentine Films for Ken Burns documentary film "Jackie Robinson" (2016). Justin Johnson's arrangement and recording of "In the Pines" from his double album 'Smoke & Mirrors' was licensed to ad agency Wieden + Kennedy for the "Dodge Brothers" national ad campaign for Dodge Motor Company (2016). Justin Johnson's arrangement and recording of "Grinnin in Your Face" from 'Smoke & Mirrors' is featured on NPR Back Porch Music's "Best of Back Porch Music Vol. 18: Old Enough to Know Better" 2015 Compilation Album (2015). Justin Johnson is featured in Strung Together (2015) the feature-length documentary film on American Roots instruments, produced by Jon Miller (2015).
December 4, 2020
How A Powerhouse Finds The Time (and Energy) To Create (Interview with Rebecca Evans)
In this episode, Clifford Brooks and Michael Amidei interview poet, memoirist, podcast host, and veteran Rebecca Evans.  Links "Writer To Writer" Podcast Inner Element 
October 22, 2020
Never Turn Back (Interview with Christopher Swann)
In this episode, Cliff Brooks and Michael Amidei interview author Christopher Swann.  Christopher Swann ( is a novelist and high school English teacher in Atlanta, Georgia. A graduate of Woodberry Forest School in Virginia, he earned his Ph.D. in creative writing from Georgia State University. In 2018, Chris was a Townsend Prize finalist, a finalist for a Georgia Author of the Year award, and longlisted for the Southern Book Prize. He lives with his wife and two sons in Atlanta, where he is the English department chair at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School.
October 5, 2020
The Pursuit Of Craft (Interview with Angel Snow)
In this episode, Clifford Brooks and Michael Amidei interview musician and songwriter Angel Snow.  Angel Snow ( is a talented and inspiring musician and songwriter living in Nashville, TN. Her albums include "Magnetic", "Arrows" and "Stripped". 
September 5, 2020
Songs Of Creative Dedication & How Fires End (Interview with Marco Rafalà)
In this episode, Michael Amidei and Clifford Brooks interview author Marco Rafalà. Marco Rafalà ( is a first-generation Sicilian American novelist, musician, and writer for award-winning tabletop role-playing games. He earned his MFA in Fiction from The New School and is a co-curator of the Guerrilla Lit Reading Series in New York City. Born in Middletown, Connecticut, he now lives in Brooklyn, New York. His fiction and non-fiction have appeared in the Bellevue Literary Review and LitHub. How Fires End is his debut novel.
July 31, 2020
The Passion & Wit Of R.J. Jeffreys
In this episode, Clifford Brooks and Michael Amidei interview R.J. Jeffreys.  R.J. Jeffreys is a poet, writer, novelist, writing coach and mentor, celebrity ghostwriter, playwright, Executive Producer Digital Media for VIDA Voices & Views, and contributing editor and Senior Producer Radio Interviews Media for Tiferet Journal.  He is the host of The Write Step with RJ Jeffreys radio interview show.  Jeffreys’ poetry, prose and dramatic works have appeared in numerous publications, media outlets and websites such as Mass, 100 Thousand Poets for Change, Tiferet Journal, Saint Julian Press, Bareback Alchemy and the anthologies, The Darwin Murders, Tasteful Murders and Stories from a Holiday Heart, among others. R.J. is also a Best-of-the-Web Shorty Award nominee, a frequent guest speaker on national media outlets, and contributor for numerous publications, media outlets and websites.  Jeffreys' The Write Step blog is also featured by as a top ten website for writing advice.
July 2, 2020
Surrender Your Gift (Interview with Casanova Green Pt. 2)
In this episode, Cliff Brooks and Michael Amidei interview pastor, professor, musician, and poet Casanova Green.  Casanova Green ( is a writer, singer/songwriter, educator, and pastor. He is a 2010 graduate of Ohio Northern University with a BA in Language Arts Education with a minor in voice and received an MFA in Creative Writing at the Etowah Valley Low-Residency MFA Program at Reinhardt University in 2018. Casanova is a member of the Southern Collective Experience and has been published in several publications including The Blue Mountain Review where he serves as a Contributing Editor, Raw Art Review, and Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review.  In 2019, he published a mini-chapbook entitled Whispers & Echoes and his first collection of poetry entitled Things I Wish I Could Tell You will be published in 2020. He has done extensive ministry work since the age of nine and has served as a worship leader and choir director for over twenty years. He released his first album, A Worshiper Mentality, in January 2016; his second, Songs from the Journey: Part I, in August 2019; and his third album, Songs from the Journey: Part II, in February 2020. He will release his fourth album, Songs from the Journey: Part 3, in 2020 Currently, he is the Owner of CGCreate, LLC and serves as the Lead Pastor of True Vision Christian Community headquartered in Lancaster, OH with a church plant in Barnwell, SC. He and his family reside in Lancaster.
June 18, 2020
Exploring Of The Creative Feminine
In this episode, Cliff Brooks and Michael Amidei interview author, artist, podcaster, and poet Eurydice Eve. Eurydice ( has been a sex writer & archivist, a multi-modal scholar & sexual freedom activist for 25 years. Eurydice’s work is steeped in philosophy & history & dedicated to the generations of silenced women for whom she hopes to speak. 
June 4, 2020
The New Psalmist (Interview with Clay Matthews)
In this episode, Cliff Brooks and Michael Amidei interview poet Clay Matthews.  Clay Matthews (@ClayBMatthews on Twitter) has published poetry in journals such as the Southern Review, diode, Kenyon Review, Gulf Coast, and elsewhere. His most recent book, Shore, was published by Cooper Dillon Books. His other books are Superfecta, and Pretty, Rooster. He currently lives in Elizabethtown, KY and teaches at Elizabethtown Community & Technical College. A favorite quote from a review of Clay's work comes from MICHAEL MEYERHOFER of the Atticus Review, who said: "Reading his poems fills me with much the same awe that I imagine I’d feel if I chanced upon an 800-pound gorilla deftly folding origami cranes to give to children after carving an ice sculpture and overhauling a tractor engine in record time. So, yeah. I’m a fan."
May 21, 2020
Trauma Forged Into Art (Interview with Tianna G. Hansen)
In this episode, Cliff Brooks and Michael Amidei interview publisher and writer Tianna G. Hansen.  Tianna G. Hansen has been writing her whole life, with her first love as poetry. She has studied fiction and dabbles in creative nonfiction. Tianna founded Rhythm & Bones Press ( where she works as the editor-in-chief turning trauma into art. Find her published work at or follow her on Twitter @tiannag92. Social media links: Twitter: @tiannag92 // @RhythmBonesLit Facebook: @tiannaghansen // @rhythmboneslit
April 30, 2020
The Embrace Of Despair (Interview with Dr. Samantha Rose Hill)
In this episode, Cliff Brooks and Michael Amidei interview Dr. Samantha Rose Hill.  Dr. Hill (  received her doctorate in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2014. From 2013-2015, she conducted post-doctoral research at Heidelberg Universität and the Institut für Philosophie at the Goethe-Universität in Frankfurt am Main. She taught at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Amherst College, and is currently the Assistant Director of the Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities, Visiting Assistant Professor of Politics at Bard College and is Associate Faculty at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research in New York City. She writes about Hannah Arendt, Critical Theory, the Frankfurt School, poetics, aesthetic theory, and the history of political thought. You can find her work in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Public Seminar, OpenDemocracy, Theory & Event, Contemporary Political Theory, The South Atlantic Quarterly, The Journal of the Hannah Arendt Center, and Amor Mundi, among other publications. She the author of two forthcoming books: Hannah Arendt (2021, Reaktion Books) and Hannah Arendt’s Poems.
April 16, 2020
Rhythm Hymns (Interview with Tyree Daye)
In this episode, Clifford Brooks and Michael Amidei interview poet Tyree Daye. Tyree Daye ( a poet from Youngsville, North Carolina, and a Teaching Assistant Professor at UNC-Chapel Hill. He is the author of two poetry collections River Hymns 2017 APR/Honickman First Book Prize winner and Cardinal forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press 2020. Daye is a Cave Canem fellow. Daye’s work has been published in Prairie Schooner, New York Times, Nashville Review. Daye won the 2019 Palm Beach Poetry Festival Langston Hughes Fellowship, 2019 Diana and Simon Raab Writer-In-Residence at UC Santa Barbara, and is a 2019 Kate Tufts Finalist. Daye most recently was awarded a 2019 Whiting Writers Award.
March 26, 2020
The Tender Words Of Zoe Fishman
In this episode, Clifford Brooks and Michael Amidei interview author Zoe Fishman.  Zoe Fishman ( the critically acclaimed author of Invisible As Air (Morrow, September '19), the bestselling Inheriting Edith, (Morrow, October ’16), Driving Lessons (Morrow, April ’14), Saving Ruth (Morrow, May ’12) and Balancing Acts (Harper, March ’10). Her books have been translated into Hebrew, German, Italian, Dutch and Polish and are also available in Audio and Large Print editions. She’s the recipient of a myriad of awards, including an AJC "10 Southern Books We Loved in 2019" selection, an IndieNext Pick, Target’s Breakout and Emerging Author Picks, a NY Post Pick, a Mom’s Choice Award and a Barnes & Noble Hot Read. Interviews and profiles of her have been featured on NBC’s “Atlanta & Co.” and FGTV, as well as in Publisher’s Weekly, Mobile Bay Magazine, The Atlanta Jewish Times and The Huffington Post. Her essays have been published in The New York Times' Modern Love column, as part of The Atlanta Journal Constitution's Personal Journey series and Modern Loss among others. Zoe worked in the New York publishing industry for thirteen years in the editorial department of Random House, the rights department of Simon & Schuster and later, as an agent for two boutique literary firms before moving to Atlanta in August of 2011 with her family. She is the Executive Director of The Decatur Writers Studio as well as an instructor. She is also an instructor in the Emory Continuing Education program. In the Spring of 2017, she was the Visiting Writer at SCAD Atlanta. She is currently working on her next novel.
February 13, 2020
Bone Chalk & Prison (Interview with Jim Reese)
In this episode, Cliff Brooks and Michael Amidei interview Jim Reese. Jim Reese ( ) Jim Reese is Associate Professor of English and Director of the Great Plains Writers’ Tour at Mount Marty College in Yankton, South Dakota. Reese’s poetry and prose have been widely published, and he has performed readings at venues throughout the country, including the Library of Congress and San Quentin Prison. Reese’s awards include First Place in the 2018 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards, a 2018 Distinguished Achievement Award from Mount Marty College, and a Distinguished Public Service Award in recognition of his exemplary dedication and contributions to the Education Department at Federal Prison Camp Yankton. His books include These Trespasses (The Backwaters Press, 2005), ghost on 3rd (New York Quarterly Books, 2010), and Really Happy! (New York Quarterly Books, 2014). A fourth collection, Dancing Room Only, is forthcoming by New York Quarterly Books in 2020. His first book of nonfiction, Bone Chalk, will be published by Stephen F. Austin State University Press in 2019.
January 30, 2020
New Year, Who Dis?
In this episode, Cliff Brooks and Michael Amidei discuss how they plan for each new year. 
January 23, 2020
The Poetry Of Accelerated Particles... (Interview with Jeffery Skinner)
In this episode, Cliff Brooks and Michael Amidei interview Jeffery Skinner. Poet, playwright, and essayist Jeffrey Skinner was awarded a 2014 Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry. Skinner’s Guggenheim project involves a conflation of contemporary physics, poetry, and theology.  He served as the June, 2015 Artist in Residence at the CERN particle accelerator in Geneva, Switzerland.  In 2015 he was awarded one of eight American Academy of Arts & Letters Awards, for exceptional accomplishment in writing. His most recent prose book, The 6.5 Practices of Moderately Successful Poets, was published to wide attention and acclaim, including a full page positive review in the Sunday New York Times Book Review.  His most recent collection of poems, Glaciology, was chosen in 2012 as winner in the Crab Orchard Open Poetry Competition, and published by Southern Illinois University press in Fall, 2013. Skinner has published five previous collections: Late Stars (Wesleyan University Press), A Guide to Forgetting (a winner in the 1987 National Poetry series, chosen by Tess Gallagher, published by Graywolf Press), The Company of Heaven (Pitt Poetry Series), Gender Studies, (Miami University Press), and Salt Water Amnesia (Ausable Press).  He has edited two anthologies, Last Call: Poems of Alcoholism, Addiction, and Deliverance; and Passing the Word: Poets and Their Mentors.  His numerous chapbooks include Salt Mother, Animal Dad, which was chosen by C.K. Williams for the New York City Center for Book Arts Poetry Competition in 2005.  Over the years Skinner’s poems have appeared in most of the country’s premier literary magazines, including The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Nation, The American Poetry Review, Poetry, FENCE, Bomb, DoubleTake, and The Georgia, Iowa, and Paris Reviews. Also a playwright, Skinner’s play Down Range had a successful run at Theatre 3 in New York City in the Spring of 2009, and another in Chicago in 2014.  His play Dream On had its premier production in February of 2007, by the Cardboard Box Collaborative Theatre in Philadelphia.  Other of Skinner’s plays have been finalists in the Eugene O’Neill Theater Conference competition, and winners in various play contests. Skinner’s writing has gathered grants, fellowships, and awards from such sources as the National Endowment for the Arts (1986, & 2006), the Ingram Merrill Foundation, the Howard Foundation, and the state arts agencies of Connecticut, Delaware, and Kentucky.  He has been awarded residencies at Yaddo, McDowell, Vermont Studios, and the Fine Arts Center in Provincetown.  His work has been featured numerous times on National Public Radio.  In 2002 Skinner served as Poet-in-Residence at the James Merrill House in Stonington, Connecticut. He is President of the Board of Directors, and Editorial Consultant, for Sarabande Books, a literary publishing house he cofounded with his wife, poet Sarah Gorham.  He teaches creative writing and English at The University of Louisville.
December 26, 2019
Get It On The Page! (A Louisiana Poet Laureate Speaks)
In this episode, Cliff Brooks and Michael Amidei interview poet Jack Bedell.  Jack B. Bedell ( is Professor of English and Coordinator of Creative Writing at Southeastern Louisiana University where he also edits ​​Louisiana Literature and directs the Louisiana Literature Press. His latest collections are Elliptic (Yellow Flag Press, 2016), Revenant (Blue Horse Press, 2016), and No Brother, This Storm (Mercer University Press, 2018). His work has appeared in the Southern Review, Radar Poetry, The Fourth River,, Construction, Grist, Sugar House, Shenandoah, Pidgeonholes, Cotton Xenomorph and other journals. Bedell is the recipient of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Individual Achievement in the Humanities Award and the Governor’s Award for Artistic Achievement. He was appointed by Governor John Bel Edwards to serve as Louisiana Poet Laureate, 2017-2019.
December 12, 2019
A New York Literary Agent Speaks...
In this episode, Clifford Brooks and Michael Amidei interview literary agent and editor, Alicia Brooks.  Alicia Brooks ( began her career over twenty years ago in book publishing as an editorial assistant at Penguin USA. She worked her way up to an assistant editor position at Nan A. Talese/Doubleday where she worked with noteworthy authors, including Margaret Atwood, Pat Conroy, and Ian McEwan. Alicia then became an editor at Picador/St. Martin's Press where she edited over 39 hardcover titles and several trade paper original titles, including Noelle Howey's Dress Codes: Of Three Girlhoods--My Mother's, My Father's, and Mine, Nega Mezlekia's award-winning Notes from the Hyena's Belly, and Ben Brantley's New York Times Book of Broadway. As an agent at the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency, she is looking for Memoir, Narrative Nonfiction, Self-Help, Pop Culture, Literary Fiction, Commercial Fiction, YA Fiction, Mystery/Crime, and Historical Fiction. Alicia is a graduate of Wellesley College with a B.A. in English and Philosophy and has a Master's Degree in the Teaching of English from Columbia University.
November 27, 2019
The Dance Of Poetry (Interview with Melissa Studdard)
In this episode, Clifford Brooks and Michael Amidei interview poet and author Melissa Studdard. Melissa Studdard is the author of four books, including the poetry collection I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast and the young adult novel Six Weeks to Yehidah. Her short writings have appeared in a wide variety of journals, magazines, blogs, and anthologies, such as The New York Times, Poetry, Psychology Today, The Guardian, New Ohio Review, Harvard Review, Bettering American Poetry, and Poets & Writers. A short film of the title poem from Studdard’s I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast (by Dan Sickles of Moxie Pictures for Motionpoems) was an official selection for the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival and the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival, as well as winner of the REEL Poetry Festival Audience Choice Award. Other poems of hers have been made into car magnets, telepoem booth recordings, and Houston City Banners. Her awards include the Forward National Literature Award, the International Book Award, the Kathak Literary Award, the Poiesis Award of Honor International, the Readers’ Favorite Award, and two Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards. As well, her books have been listed in Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts’ Best Books of the Year, January Magazine’s Best Children’s Books of the Year, Bustle’s “8 Feminist Poems To Inspire You When The World Is Just Too Much,” and Amazon’s Most Gifted Books. As well, she has recently been in residency at the Centrum in Port Townsend, and The Hermitage Artist Retreat in Manasota Key, where she was poet in residence. In addition to writing, Studdard serves as the executive producer and host of VIDA Voices & Views for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts and on the TUPP Advisory Council as a Walt Whitman Project Planning Associate. As well, she is a past president of the Associated Writing Program’s Women’s Caucus. She received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence college and is a professor for the Lone Star College System.
November 14, 2019
Wealth Building As Creatives (Interview w/ Chris Lazarus)
In this episode, Cliff Brooks and Michael Amidei interview podcaster and real estate guru Chris Lazarus.  Chris Lazarus's portfolio includes small-scale boutique property management, property listing, and advertising services, buyer assistance, personal coaching and consulting.  In my spare time, I host the re:Think Real Estate Podcast about the real estate space and a new show called Portraits of Atlanta aimed at showcasing local people and their impact on our community.
October 17, 2019
How To Gain Power & Resilience From Childhood Trauma (Interview with Robert Gwaltney)
In this episode, Cliff Brooks and Michael Amidei interview author Robert Gwaltney.  Robert Gwaltney, a graduate of Florida State University, resides in Atlanta Georgia where he is active in the local literary community and an associate member of the Southern Collective Experience.  His short story, “The Deep Down”, was recently published in The Signal Mountain Review.  A recipient of an Atlanta Writers Club award for flash fiction, he was also selected as a top ten finalist for publication by First Page, an international literary magazine.  Robert just completed writing his first novel THE CICADA TREE.  An excerpt from this novel will be published in the October 2019 issue of The Blue Mountain Review and the December 2019 issue of The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature.  Alongside his writing, Robert also serves as Vice President with Easterseals North Georgia, Children Services Inc., a non-profit supporting children and families during the most critical time in a child’s development.
October 3, 2019
West Coast Country (Interview with Debbie Hennessey)
In this episode, Clifford Brooks and Michael Amidei interview musician Debbie Hennessey.  Debbie Hennessey was named AC40 Female Artist of the Year by New Music Weekly as well as charting a Top 20 Hit on NMW’s AC40 Charts. Her songs and music videos have aired on USA and UHD Networks, and TV shows Extra, The Next GAC Star, and The Moment. She has been named a multiple Finalist in the Great American Song Contest and multi-Semi-Finalist in the Song of the Year Contest, as well as multiple Honorable Mentions from the Billboard World Song Contest and West Coast Songwriters Contest. Her songs have been included on compilation CDs including CMT's New Music Collection, GoGirls MusicFest, Songsalive!, Beautiful-Women on the Move, among others and named Best Vocalist of the Month by SingerUniverse. Debbie is a writer for Studio 51 Music, Pacifica Music and others providing original songs for their film and tv music libraries. She is a voting member of the NARAS/GRAMMYS, a writer/publisher member of ASCAP, as well as a member of AIMP, NARIP, and SONA. Debbie's three full-length cds and seven singles are all available through many music outlets including iTunes, CDBaby, and Amazon, or by calling 1-800-BUY-MY-CD. Mainsite: "Whisky Corn" (music video)  Editorial:
September 19, 2019
The Keepers Of Calliope (Interview with Shawn Crawford)
In this episode, Cliff Brooks and Michael Amidei interview Shawn Crawford, the force behind the publishing company "The Calliope Group" and "Calliope Crashes".  Shawn Crawford lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, surrounded by the Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan archives, the Cain’s Ballroom, and the spirit of Leon Russell. He left academics to make some real coin in the nonprofit sector. He just launched a publishing joint, The Calliope Group, and edits the site Calliope Crashes. Born in Kansas, his mother is named Dorothy. No he’s not joking, yes he’s seen a tornado, and no people in Kansas do not grow up in a world devoid of color. The Calliope Group: Calliope Crashes:
September 5, 2019
The Rough Magic Of Cornelius Eady
In this episode, Clifford Brooks and Michael Amidei interview poet, playwright, musician, and professor Cornelius Eady.  Music featured in this episode: "The Pickle King" by The Cornelius Eady Trio "Bree" by The Cornelius Eady Trio Cornelius Eady is the author of several books of poetry, including the critically acclaimed Hardheaded Weather, which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award, Victims of the Latest Dance Craze,winner of the 1985 Lamont Prize from the Academy of American Poets, The Gathering of My Name,which was nominated for the 1992 Pulitzer Prize, and his most recent collection The War Against the Obvious. With poet Toi Derricote, Eady is cofounder of Cave Canem, a national organization for African American poetry and poets. He is the recipient of an NEA Fellowship in Literature, a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry, a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship to Bellagio, Italy, and The Prairie Schooner Strousse Award.  You can find him at: 
August 22, 2019
Autism Speaks (Interview w/ Kimberly Dick)
In this episode, Clifford Brooks and Michael Amidei interview Executive Director of Autism Speaks Georgia and Tennessee, Kimberly Dick.  Kimberly Dick, Executive Director of Autism Speaks Georgia and Tennessee has been involved with the organization for over 10 years. Kimberly became involved shortly after her son, Caleb’s diagnosis as a walk volunteer eventually as the Walk Now For Autism Speaks Chair in 2011. Since then, Kimberly has helped the state of Georgia & Tennessee through corporate relationships, awareness, resources, and assistance in passing state & federal  legislation. She has also developed a strong local board of directors making Autism Speaks Georgia the 13th Chapter at Autism Speaks. Kimberly lives in Atlanta with her husband Brad, their two children Caleb and Zoe and their dog, Griffin. Neil Degrasse Tyson Talks About Dyslexia and Autism
August 2, 2019
How (And Why) To Get A Publisher (Interview with Andrew J. Wilt)
In this episode, Michael Amidei and Clifford Brooks interview Andrew J. Wilt, the publisher of 11:11 Press.   Andrew J. Wilt, Publisher ( )​ Andrew has been working professionally in writing for over a decade. He was the founder & editor of Cohesion, the first alternative zine at Grand Valley State University. While attending the University of Washington in Seattle, he was accepted to Sustainable Evolution Inc.’s business analyst apprenticeship program where he studied change management and knowledge sharing within organizations. Throughout the program, Andrew wrote about his experiences transitioning from being a full-time student to a full-time employee. He is the author of Age of Agility: The New Tools for Career Success, which is currently being used as a textbook in universities, nonprofits, and Fortune 500 companies. 11:11 Press is a combination of his passion and purpose: writing, business, providing opportunities to artists, and fostering engagement in the arts. Andrew is currently the Director of Apprenticeship at Mechanical Systems Inc. 
July 19, 2019
The Singing Pastoral Poet (Interview w/ Casanova Green)
In this episode, Cliff Brooks and Michael Amidei interview the dynamic Casanova Green. Casanova Green is a writer, singer/songwriter, educator, and pastor. He is a 2010 graduate of Ohio Northern University with a BA in Language Arts Education with minor in voice and received an MFA in Creative Writing at the Etowah Valley Low-Residency MFA Program at Reinhardt University in 2018. Casanova is a member of the Southern Collective Experience and has been published in several publications including The Blue Mountain Review, Raw Art Review, and Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review. He has done extensive ministry work since the age of nine and has served as a worship leader and choir director for twenty years. He released his first album, A Worshiper Mentality, in January 2016 and is currently working on his second and third albums, Songs from the Journey Parts I and II, which will be released in 2019 and 2020. Currently, he serves as the Lead Pastor of True Vision Christian Community based in Lancaster, OH where he and his family reside. Links to Casanova Green: His IndieGoGo Campaign:
July 4, 2019
Confessions Of A Crime Author (Interview with Roger Johns)
In this episode, Clifford Brooks and Michael Amidei interview Roger Johns.  Roger Johns is the author of  River Rising (2017) and River of Secrets (2018) Wallace Hartman Mysteries from St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books. He is s a former corporate lawyer and retired college professor, He is the 2018 Georgia Author of the Year (Detective ▪ Mystery Category), a 2018 Killer Nashville Readers’ Choice Award nominee, and a finalist for the 2018 Silver Falchion Award for best police procedural. His articles and interviews on writing and the writing life have appeared in Career Author, Criminal Element, Killer Nashville Articles, and the Southern Literary Review. Roger belongs to the Atlanta Writers Club, Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers. Along with four other crime fiction writers, he co-authors the MurderBooks blog at 
June 20, 2019
The Noetic Professor (Interview with Luke Johnson)
In this episode, Brooks & Amidei interview Luke Johnson, founder of Noetic (www.Noetic.Online), which aims to create an expansive audio-lecture library on the great and sometimes neglected works of philosophy in a unique and powerful social media platform. Noetic www.Noetic.Online Justin Johnson (Music)
June 6, 2019
Interview With Cameron Dezen Hammon
In this episode, Clifford Brooks and Michael Amidei interview Cameron Dezen Hammon.  Cameron Dezen Hammon’s writing has appeared in Ecotone, The Rumpus, The Literary Review, The Butter, NYLON, Them, The Houston Chronicle, and elsewhere. Her essay “Infirmary Music” was named a notable in The Best American Essays 2017, and she is a contributor to The Kiss: Intimacies from Writers (W.W. Norton), My Caesarean: Twenty Mothers on the Experience of Birth by C-Section and After (The Experiment) and Common Prayer: Reflections on Episcopal Worship (Wipf & Stock). She is co-founder of The Slant reading series, host of The Ish podcast, and her debut book This Is My Body: A Memoir of Religious and Romantic Obsession is forthcoming from Lookout Books on October 22, 2019. Music provided by Justin Johnson (
May 23, 2019
How To Go Super Viral & Earn Your Luck (Interview with Jackie K Cooper)
In this episode, Clifford Brooks and Michael Amidei interview Jackie K Cooper (author and entertainment critic). Throughout Jackie's incredible stories, we learn about his work ethic, his passion, commitment, and what it's like to be endorsed by the biggest YouTuber on the planet. 
May 9, 2019
Creativity & Health
In this episode, Clifford Brooks and Michael Amidei discuss the role that health plays in their creative work. They share thoughts and experiences. offering thoughts that you might consider for your own poetry and music career. 
April 25, 2019
The Road To Originality
In this episode, Clifford Brooks and Michael Amidei discuss their creative influences, habits, and how to develop an original voice in your writing and your music. 
April 11, 2019
The Power Of Live Events
In this episode, Michael Amidei and Clifford Brooks discuss the power of live events and their ability to transform your creative career in music, writing, and poetry. 
March 28, 2019
Building A Business Around Your Art
In this episode, Clifford Brooks & Michael Amidei discuss taking your creative work and building a business (aka money making) model around it.  Music by Justin Johnson( ) Michael Amidei ( & ) Clifford Brooks ( & )
March 4, 2019
Meet Brooks & Amidei
The introductory episode of "This Business Of Music & Poetry" featuring Michael Amidei (poet, author, musician, host of "The Michael Amidei Show" & "World Poetry Open Mic") and Clifford Brooks (poet, author, founder of The Southern Collective Experience) give a context and mission to the podcast; helping you take your creative passion and turn it into a real-world living. Music by Justin Johnson ( ) Michael Amidei ( & ) Clifford Brooks ( & )
March 4, 2019