What Demands Retelling

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I think what demands telling and retelling and re-retelling is this: any story in which complicated grief and desperate sadness is the main character . . . Loss is really the one thing we all share, rich and poor and stupid and smart alike.  We learn compassion by experiencing the loss of others.  We learn love by letting other people share in our own stories of loss.

At Electric Literature, poet and now novelist Jill Alexander Essbaum talks about loss, dreams, bad decisions, and writing her first novel, Hausfrau.


Claire Burgess’s short fiction has appeared in Third Coast, Hunger Mountain, and PANK online, among others. Her stories have received special mentions in the Pushcart Prize and Best American anthologies, but haven’t actually made it into one yet. She’s a graduate of the Vanderbilt University MFA program, where she co-founded Nashville Review. She lives in Pittsburgh by way of the deep South and says things on Twitter @Clairabou_. More from this author →