The Butter

The Butter is an essay series edited by Roxane Gay.

  1. Run rabbit run. You. a defiant pulse of color on the whitewashed hallway— I think that I knew that you would leave eventually, and I think that it’s fitting that we would discard you silently and collect your traces like streamers the night after a sweaty school dance.   Run rabbit run. in my head. you’re already walking away. Pointed nose, black hoodie you recede into a background of doormen and dog walkers and snow…

  2. Dear Rora: I love you, and so I am letting you go. I love you no less in saying this; in fact, maybe I can love you more freely now that I can say that I am not responsible for you. I cannot help you. I am not even near brave enough to call you because I am afraid of the gaping silence at the other end of the line. I don’t know where you…

  3. “Jones’ poetry often invokes a sense of intimate nostalgia — a warm thirst for a moment or a place that was, or that could have been. The verses change pace on a dime. They vibrate.” — Jairo Ramos at NPR: Code Switch.


    “we tested our faith

    in stories of birds

    and bees



    bees lied.” — Kima Jones from “Fresh.”


    Who She Is

    Kima Jones has received fellowships from PEN Center

  4. mensah demary's previous Liner Notes columns for The Butter can be found here. This will be brief. Released in 2003, The Black Album was to be Jay Z’s finality before retirement. How, exactly, a rapper can retire still puzzles me. I assume a retired rapper refuses to rap, on the premise that he/she is now “retired” and therefore “doesn’t do that anymore.” But Michael Jordan still plays basketball, albeit in his personal gym, despite being…

  5. Laura Sook Duncombe's previous Literary Ladies Cage Fight columns for The Butter can be found here. Hey, gal-pals! Welcome to Literary Ladies Cage Fight: where women always win! I am Aphrodite, goddess of love, and my sister Artemis and I read tons of books (for YOUR pleasure, dear readers) and celebrate the awesome female protagonists…by pitting them against each other in head-to-head combat. We’re so glad you’re here! It is true. I am Artemis,…

  6. “You are the butter to my bread, and the breath to my life” ― Julia Child

    First of course, Roxane breaks the terrible news: The Butter is saying good-bye.

    HUGE, teary thanks to all you brilliant Butter writers, so much butter to our bread. It's been a joy to read and publish your work. And to you readers for loving it all as much as we did.

  7. When Nicole and Mallory approached me and invited me to contribute to The Toast, was absolutely thrilled. I recognized what an amazing opportunity it was, particularly as a woman of color, to be able to run an online publication where I had editorial freedom and the ability to pay writers. It has been all joy to run The Butter. I was able to publish truly amazing writing filled with wit and heart, humor and intelligence. I worked…

  8. “I am a woman who shouts into the sea.” from “Women and the Global Imagination: The Isle of Exile” at Prairie Schooner.   Who She Is I found this bio online, but as usual, bios only tell you the facts: ‘Gabrielle Bellot, who has also written under J. Bellot, holds an MFA from Florida State University, where she is currently a PhD Candidate in fiction. She has contributed work to Prairie Schooner, The Missouri…

  9. Aimee Nezhukumatathil's previous World of Wonder columns for The Butter can be found here. With a heavy but happy and wonder-ously stinky heart, I’m sharing that my time here on The Butter has come to an end. As I mentioned last time, I’ve had to trim my outside projects to focus on a couple of book projects during my sabbatical. But not before ending this column with my favorite specimen of all time…

  10. mensah demary's previous Liner Notes columns for The Butter can be found here. I woke up this morning with a bit of anxiety. Sunday, Brooklyn: the gym loomed, as did multiple deadlines tumbling all around me, as if drowning in one of those playpens full of colorful plastic or rubber balls, and I had emails to answer, and documents to review, and decisions to make. Adulthood awaited, and I didn’t even have brunch plans…

  11. Dear Bear, So there’s a boy, and I really really like him, and I’ve liked him a while, and he likes me back in a kind of getting married-like way, though we’re not engaged. But we’ve talked about “our life” as though it’s assured going forward. He’s from a family that’s like my family in various ways, and there’s a lot of expectation and positivity. It’s clear that if I marry him I will be…

  12. Kelly Davio's previous Waiting Room columns for The Butter can be found here. Next month Fox brings back its wildly popular show, Empire, featuring Lucious Lyon, the fictional music mogul, record executive, and bad guy of Shakespearean proportions. Lucious spent the first season of the drama believing he was dying of ALS. But in the final hours of Season One, a smiling neurologist told Lucious he actually has myasthenia gravis, and that it’s “highly…

  13. Raised in a rustic house in the woods of North Carolina by parents who discouraged televisions and other such modern entertainments, Kendra Fortmeyer describes a “gorgeous childhood” complete with a story-telling grandfather who would type the tales she narrated to her dolls.

    Now a fiction editor for Broad! Magazine and recipient of an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin, Fortmeyer has established herself as an emerging writer of note, with publications in PANK,

  14. This week was the full feelings buffet. Remember, you can always come back for more:

    Celeste Ng called How to Make Yogurt in Manila by Grace Talusan ‘beautiful and moving’ (on the Twitter machine) so you don’t have to take our word for its awesomeness.

    “Things That Are Meant To Make You Feel Safe And Comfortable In A Psych Ward That Just Make You Feel Crazier.” Episode by Naadeyah Haseeb will tear

  15. Helen of Troy I stood in for a thousand ships and you, Paris, hid behind and conducted them with your pinky finger until I was seduced or abducted (they are not so different). Even then, with fleets and armies fanned around you, it was always you most exposed. Me in my silks, and you in your armor, it was you most exposed. Chainlink shirts and sheets of metal, swords at your hips and knives hiding…