Here’s today’s Daily GIF!
“The sorcery of grief and illness is powerful, an unstoppable tale at the end of which all people don’t emerge, or else they stumble into a fierce light, wholly changed. I’m sitting in the garden, but in my mind I’m in the glass gallery with the parts Frida left behind, the parts that didn’t die with her, that the public will inherit: her legs, her rings, her winged corsets, the ragged and miraculously preserved artifacts of her disappeared body. Is it her pain, or her freedom from pain, that we celebrate? How are we devoted to her, and to one another? What does true devotion require? What mental and physical perversions/reversals are necessary for us to keep living on in this ruptured world? This line from Solnit, this question, sings in my head, but has no answer: “Who drinks your tears, who has your wings, who tells your story?” Fairytales, Solnit says, are about getting into and out of trouble; our most important stories are about turbulence. Out of one darkness and into one light. You enter a forest that forges you, and eventually escape it to enter another.”



Today marks my last day as the editor of the Sunday Rumpus, and I’m honored to celebrate it by publishing one of my favorite writers working today, Emily Rapp, with a stunningly powerful and complex essay, “Casa Azul Cripple.” I was thrilled to first introduce Emily’s work to The Rumpus three years ago, and this, one of her finest essays, could not be a better swan song for my treasured time here, and for what I think The Rumpus offers to the literary community in terms of digging in deep, defying easy taglines, continuing to embrace long-form personal and political and cultural essays that go places it is simply impossible to reach in 650 words. “Casa Azul” is one to bookmark, to savor, to return to for pleasure or to teach, to digest slowly over morning coffee and evening wine … I hope you will find yourself as shaken and transformed and exhilarated by it as I am.


For fans of Rapp’s, as well as other Sunday Rumpus regulars like Jennifer Pastiloff and Rob Roberge, I am thrilled to also announce the schedule, faculty and line-up for Other Voices Querétaro 2015 and the unveiling of our updated website. There are only 24 spots this year for the May 15-25 program, so please contact if you’re interested in joining us in Mexico!

All our fevered history won’t instill insight,
won’t turn a body conscious,
won’t make that look
in the eyes say yes, though there is nothing

to solve

even as each moment is an answer.

— From a poem in Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine, reviewed at The Rumpus by Shaelyn Smith.
Here’s today’s Daily GIF!
“I’ll admit it: until 4th grade, I wasn’t a reader. There simply weren’t many books in my house, and my parents didn’t encourage reading or read to us much. I had not sought books out. In my defense, I was often busy doing a paper route or screening phone calls from creditors or shoveling snow. But Mr. Horan changed everything. There were books all over the classroom. Piles and piles. Whenever we finished homework early, we were made to read books. We had to read. It was not a choice. And Mr. H. had great books. Classics. During free time, we were encouraged to hit the comic book stacks or visit the school library. Mr. H. read us entire books throughout the school year. The Door in the Wall. A Wrinkle in Time. Finn Family Moomintroll. The Hobbit. Also a book called Krabat by Otfried Preußler.”
The Last Book I Loved: Krabat by Chris Kubica.
“My husband was reading to my daughter—all these traditional fantasy stories, and fairy tales, like A Wrinkle in Time, and Lord of the Rings, and something called The Dark Is Rising—and you know, they’re all the same, in the way that the hero is depicted, the trials that the hero goes through—and I’m listening to these stories, night after night, and they’re giving me some of the ideas for the fairy tale. And some of the ideas, I already knew, was aware of, from reading all the stuff that my daughter would eventually be reading, or reading to her myself, so that definitely shaped the story. But I think maybe the idea that the girl is the focus of the story, that she is not just being rescued, that at one point, she rescued the boy, I think that part comes from having a daughter.”
“Full disclosure: I am a university professor. I have written many letters of recommendation, all of which I keep tidily organized in a file on my laptop. These letters represent an enormous investment of my time and creative energy — an investment that often seems unacknowledged, even (especially?) by the people for whom I write. I also have a decade’s experience writing letters to department chairs, admissions offices, colleagues, grad school chums… in short, I have written all of the kinds of letters that appear in this novel. Jay Fitger, the protagonist, takes far more liberties with his letters than I would dare. But the letters are none the less authentic-feeling, and the way their details, asides, PS’s, and references cohere into a picture of his life and his university reveals something very true about what is becoming of the arts and humanities, about the sort of men who possess secure positions within institutions of higher ed, and about the precarious situations of just about everyone else, including the students.”
Amy Letter reviews Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher, a novel made up entirely of letters of recommendation.
“Because this book is written with the attentive eye of an unrequited lover, who repeats and repeats and repeats even the most unlikely manifestations of the beloved’s beauty—vacant retail space, a shopping cart, a lost plastic yellow shovel, a coiled terrycloth turban, an abandoned Packard Plant, “the plastic kerchief my grandmother would wear over her wig and tie under her chin on days it rained,” the Walmart parking lot, and Krylon paint—the catalogs in Copia overflow with ardor and longing.”