Weekend Rumpus Roundup


First, the wonderful “My Poem,” by Grant Snider, personifies the act of creative writing. And Brandon Hicks’s latest comic, “The Drunk,” offers a whimsical look at the road to political success in America.

Then, the Saturday Essay picks up where Hicks left off. Kurt Baumeister considers whether the current popularity of fictitious female heads of state translates to the real world. Television presidents like those in Veep and House of Cards generate plenty of interest. But “[t]he real question,” Baumeister argues, “is whether this is tabloid interest or real interest, the sort that can propel a woman to the presidency, the sort of devotion that helped elect Barack Obama.” That woman, in this case, is Hillary Clinton.

Julie Marie Wade reviews Nikole Brown’s “monumental” collection, Fanny Says. In many ways the book resembles the “epic” works of Greek poetry. Fanny Says, Wade writes, is “in essence one long poem—138 pages—chambered like a heart and pumping language like blood to every stanza throughout this single, vital organ.”

Finally, in the Sunday Essay, Keiko Lane remembers the aftermath of the Rodney King beating. The National Guard is deployed to Los Angeles, provoking residents to confront the ways “that everyone is on guard.” A narrow escape from a police checkpoint sparks a fight between Lane and a close friend. Billy Holiday’s mournful song, “Strange Fruit,” serves as a frame for Lane’s examination of racism, activism, and social justice.

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 →