Literary Death Match Brings Poetry to Churchill's Pub

​Even after O, Miami brought to town O, about a ton of poems and poetry related goings-on last month, there's still a mini onslaught of lyricism yet to come. We've got one more especially aggressively wordy event that will make the sometimes bitter pill of poetry go down sO, smoothly and sO, sweetly.

The extra fun, interactive, and competitive Literary Death Match is returning to South Florida -- this time at Churchill's. Last month's battle featured three celeb judges, four powerfully talented contestants, and only one set of winners, Hialeah Haiku's Foryoucansee Collective. This LDM will have the same format, with mostly new participants. It's a totally Miami take on an internationally acclaimed idea, so get ready to enjoy a shared laugh at the expense of Honda Civics and big booties. We talked with O, Miami and University of Wynwood's P. Scott Cunningham about this second round of LDM.

Cultist: What was your favorite part about the last literary death match?

P. Scott Cunningham: Probably Matt Gajewski's short story, Stan (Not to be confused with the Eminem song... or perhaps, to be confused...) which is why I'm bringing him back for another round. No matter the competition, Gajewski gives 110%. He leaves it all on the field. He's scrappy, a real gamer. So I'm excited to see what he comes up with for this Death Match, not only in terms of his literary game, but also his outfit. Ladies, the shorts were very short last time. I expect them to get even shorter.

Was that the first LDM you'd attended?

Actually, yes. Even though I've known about Death Match since 2006 or so, I'd never been to one -- only seen the videos and heard the legends. Todd Zuniga and his team do this all over the world, and they're the best at it. It was about time Miami got in on the action.

How's this one going to be different from the last?

There's two reasons we're doing LDM again. One is that the founder of LDM, Todd Zuniga, couldn't make it to our O, Miami edition and I'm a big fan of his, so I wanted to do another one with him as host. We also generated so much momentum with O, Miami that I wanted to do something this month that could capitalize on that. When Todd said he'd be in town on May 31, we jumped on the opportunity. Also, besides Gajewski, the readers and judges will be all new. Otherwise though, the formula is the same: three judges, four readers, one winner, and a lot of audience participation.

Oh, and this is also the official release party for Jai-Alai Magazine #10. So if you haven't seen the mag yet or gotten a copy, you can buy one from me. I take credit cards.

What's the deal, is this going to be at Purdy, too? Same host?

Nope. Churchill's. It's also the same night as the Bonnie "Prince" Billy show at Sweat, so we're working on creating some kind of synergy between the two events. And, as I mentioned, founder Todd Zuniga is hosting, and he's hilarious.

What do you think people most enjoy about it?

It's a fast-paced event that focuses on entertainment value. Plus, we'll be putting together a list of locals you know and love. Most of all, you'll laugh. And you'll be drunk.

Billy Corben, co-founder of rakontur fims and director of Cocaine Cowboys and The U
Diana Abu-Jabar, novelist (Origin, 2007; and Crescent, 2003)
Jessica Gross, "Best Local Comic" - CBS Miami

Matt Gajewski, Pure Imagination
Annie Vasquez, The Fashion Poet
James Sprang, Artist/Poet
Brett Rosenblatt, Fiction

The LDM takes place at Churchill's Pub (5501 NE Second Avenue, Miami) at 9 p.m. tomorrow. The event is free. Visit

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Liz Tracy has written for publications such as the New York Times, the Atlantic, Refinery29, W, Glamour, and, of course, Miami New Times. She was New Times Broward-Palm Beach's music editor for three years. Now she plays one mean monster with her 2-year-old son and obsessively watches British mysteries.
Contact: Liz Tracy