Weekend Rumpus Roundup


First, Grant Snider provides some (mostly) encouraging words in “One Page At A Time.”

Prompted by author Colleen McCullough’s shallow-minded obituary in the Guardian, Tabitha Blankenbiller uses the Saturday Essay for introspection. The prevailing views of women’s bodies come under the microscope when Blankenbiller reflects on her experience in a church support group for women trying to lose weight. “As much as I hated my body,” she writes, “I hated my perception of it almost as much.”

Then, Patrick James Dunagan reviews Hypnos, a poetry collection by French revolutionary Rene Char. This “austere poetic document of the post-World War II period” was translated by Mark Hutchinson and first published in 1946. Though steeped in politics, Dunagan writes, the author refrains from advocating for any platform besides “that demanded by the poet’s insistent vision.” A necessary veil of secrecy informs Char’s “intimate” collection, which is named after the Greek god of sleep.

Lastly, in the Sunday Essay, Elizabeth Tannen mines the past for a way to better understand her aging surrogate mother, Paulie. Strained relationships with her older half-brothers lead Tannen to difficult lessons about family. “Our experience of loneliness in our families becomes a proxy for the way we feel lonesome in the world,” she writes.

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 →