Reading Pleasures

from Dan by Joanna Ruocco

“‘That Ann Dump,’ repeated Melba’s mother, but Melba suspected that the blame did not rest squarely on Ann Dump. The blame could not be conceived of as a regular polygon, contained and conventionally dimensional. The blame was a bigger, murkier object, with a drifty quality that frightened Melba. The blame hung in the sky over the valley. It was like humidity! Or a curse!

‘In Dan, we all live in the shadow of blame,’ said Melba to herself on her stool in the well-lit bakery.”

from a Grab the Lapels interview with Laura Kochman

“Thinking through an idea or question over the space of multiple poems or an entire book… It’s about bringing the whole text together in the reader’s mind, so that the meaning inherent in the words really only exists in the reader. And you need time and space to make that happen, hence the long poems and poem cycles.”

from Hometown Stories: Animals by Carmen Lau

“You believed him because he was a scientist. One time, when he was out inspecting pH levels in soil, he saw a couple of coyotes getting married. It was a civil ceremony–they didn’t want the ostentation of a wedding. It was only them against the world, after all.”

from The Punk’s Bride, by Kate Bernheimer

“When the daughter went to the bar and sat on the back patio to smoke, her mother sat on their back patio too. They had conversations through the chain-link fence.”

from Candide’s Garden: A Parable, by Helen DeWitt

“No one tells a hydrangea that it must triumph over the soil provided and be blue. The greenhouse is a social machine for nurturing diversity. Perhaps this is the root of all evil, that gardeners are not put in charge of our schools.”

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