Letter from the Editor

florida-outline copy.png

To many, Florida is undeniably strange.

We are home to alligator-ridden swamps, heat-seeking transplants, partying Parrot Heads, and a certain giggly cartoon mouse—not to mention some of the country’s most bizarre headlines. It’s no wonder then that our reputation for the weird is so legendary—perhaps as legendary as the Swamp Ape himself. But to some 21 million of us, Florida is simply home. The white-knuckle traffic of the Miami metro area is as much a part of the landscape as the Everglades that border it, civilization giving way to sawgrass, great blue herons, and the endangered Florida panther.

Many have tried to pinpoint what it is about the Sunshine State that makes it so weird. Perhaps it is the unique combination of people you’ll find here: retirees and immigrants, snowbirds and natives, each finding in Florida a home—a place where community can be found at the end of a pier or in a café where cafecito is served, hot and sweet. But our state’s diversity is not limited to our people; you’ll find it in the geography, too. From from the rolling hills and canopy roads of the Panhandle to the peninsula’s vast prairies and marshes, where the sky looms wide and blue overhead, and miles can be seen in a glance. These juxtapositions—of people and cultures, ecosystems and industry—are perhaps what make us wonderfully strange, familiar sites like a grocery store parking lot made a little odd by the green iguana that casually makes its way across the painted lines only to clamber up a nearby tree.

To a Floridian, this kind of sight is maybe not so strange, but rather familiar—a hallmark of this place we call home. But the work featured in this year’s online issue of Swamp Ape Review explores how the familiar can be made strange. You will read how the body of the person sleeping next to you, the town you thought you knew, or a simple phone call can become strange under the right circumstances, leaving you to wonder as the familiar is reimagined. In the South Florida feature of this issue, you will also find the works of those who have experienced firsthand the strange beauty of South Florida—the place that Swamp Ape, too, calls home.

Along with the 2019 online issue, another set of contributors are featured in our companion print issue. We encourage you to purchase a copy and discover how this print edition explores the weird and wonderful.

We at Swamp Ape Review are proud to present our third online issue, which represents, among other things, the best of what Florida has to offer: the strange, yes, but also the capacity to reimagine what’s possible—to set forth and seek out what lies in the murk of the swamp.

Madison Garber
Managing Editor, SAR