This Writer’s On Fire: Sarah Rose Etter -The Toast

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“I’m getting ready for the Tongue Party like I always do when my father’s impatience erupts.”

—the first sentence of Little Thing at PANK and in her collection, Tongue Party, from Caketrain Press.


“[Etter is a] literary sniper—these brief fables are single shots to the dome. She needs no more than a page or two to bring you to your knees.” – Dawn West, PANK Magazine.


Who She Is

From Etter’s site: “She earned her B.A. in English from Pennsylvania State University and her M.F.A. in Fiction from Rosemont College. She is the co-host of the Tirefire reading series in Philadelphia, PA.”

Her Twitter account is private, but there’s video/proof of Etter reading at Lincoln Park Reading Series if you want to make sure she exists behind the words.


Why You Should Read Her

Etter is kicking words and phrases around, throwing ‘word tantrums.’ Words you think you know and understand like family, father, girl, will never be the same when she gets through with them, with you. Etter’s words don’t settle. This is dangerous ground, a subduction zone. Her stories should come with an earthquake warning.

Like a pill you take without knowing its contents, its effects, you swallow Etter’s words thinking they’re like all the other words you read, but these come together in ways you can’t prepare yourself for. Some of the effects you feel much later, snagging yourself on a phrase, an image dizzying. They work on you, on your mind/body and everything that means until the words turn (you) into something different. Like a spell, like a formula, Etter reminds us that re-arranging words, elements just slightly, changes the meaning, changes the world. The spell you thought you were casting for love, yields turnips, plague; the formula for gold yields blood or maybe waves of koalas. The words, like the ground under your feet, shift and bend, reshape the world.


Where To Read Her Work


Tongue Party from Caketrain Press


Short Fiction Online

The Jugulars” at Hobart.

Vodka Father” at Everyday Genius.

Little Thing” at PANK Magazine.

Needle Mouth” at Everyday Genius.

Womb Peck” at Kill Author.

Wretcher” at Green Mountains Review.

This Red Truck” at Dogzplot.



Sad Ass Songs: Sarah Rose Etter” by Mark Cugini at Real Pants.

Franklin Park Reading Series – Sarah Rose Etter (youtube).

Author Sarah Rose Etter Keeps It Surreal” interview/article by Tara Murtha in Philadelphia Weekly.

Artists on Art: Authors on Art: Cai Guo-Qiang’s Explosions/Orgasms” at BURNAWAY.

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