Weekend Rumpus Roundup


In the Sunday Interview, Anna March talks with Robin Black about her debut novel, Life Drawing. Black—who also received acclaim for her short story collection, If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This—begins by discussing her approach to writing character. Stress, difficulties, and tragedies are unavoidable parts of life that play a part in shaping our identities, for better or worse. Black addresses the salient point that fiction is not always about interrogating stereotypes, and that sometimes characters must be allowed to exist on their own terms. She comments on the erroneous term “domestic fiction” and the role of Life Drawing in relation to the “genre:”

Here’s the deal. The world is a sexist place. The writing world is part of the world. All the assumptions both about what women are like and what women should be like that exist in the greater American culture exist in American literary culture too.

Then, in a review of former Stegner Fellow Maria Hummel’s poetry collection, House On Fire, Laura Haynes looks at the successful interplay between form and content. The topic of the collection is the particular grief a mother feels after the death of her child. “A brutal blow can make a person two beings simultaneously—the old self, and a new, vivid, crisis-made self,” Haynes writes. Dualities are employed to great effect in this book about love, loss, and illness.

Read more of Max Gray at Big City Sasquatch or follow him on Twitter @City_Sasquatch. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Encounters, Mount Hope, Conte, tNY.press, and English Kills Review. He co-hosts the etymology podcast Words For Dinner and is a graduate of the Rutgers-Newark MFA program. More from this author →