Weekend Rumpus Roundup


Judy Bolton-Fasman examines her Cuban-American parents in the Saturday Essay, in particular her mother’s struggle to read Don Quijote in its original Spanish for her master’s degree. Her parents’ heritage informs their aspirations in a new country. “For my father Cuba was a cautionary tale,” Bolton-Fasman writes. “For my mother it was a fairytale.”

Then, in Jessie Carty’s review of Henri Cole’s collection, Nothing To Declare, Carty claims that “By creating something and sharing,” these “clever and well-constructed” poems, Cole “is declaring” after all. The irony of the poet’s declaration draws the reviewer’s attention and earns her respect. The book takes some deserved risks and capitalizes on them.

Meanwhile, in the Sunday Essay, Jessie Rothwell takes a self-defense class to regain agency after being assaulted by a stranger in her car. By the time she graduates, she is in a new relationship with an artist who has experience with weapons. Her relationship deepens as her understanding of her own victimization complicates. “I find myself,” Rothwell writes, “in a post-having-experienced-it-firsthand world—both repulsed by and drawn to the violence.”

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 →