Weekend Rumpus Roundup


First, Brandon Hicks shares a special Halloween essay he’s illustrated for us.

Meanwhile, in the Saturday Essay, Evan Lavender-Smith reveals takes a frank and humorous look at self-image. “Character Evan” is attractive, fit, responsible, and mature; a good husband and father. But “real Evan” experiences anxiety and self-doubt. The latter worries about the “heat death” of the universe and feels insecure in large groups of people. “Generally, when character Evan looks in the mirror, his face is relaxed,” Lavender-Smith writes. “Not so with real Evan, whose face seizes up as it attempts to conform to an image more closely aligned with his projected ideal.”

Then, in the Sunday Rumpus Poetry feature, Ladan Osman shares four poems that investigate pain by appealing to the senses. In a loose chronology, Osman considers formative events from childhood to adulthood. A vignette from Winnie-the-Pooh is reimagined in light of police brutality, and, in “NSFW,” Osman takes a hard look at modern sexuality, gender, and vulnerability. She writes: “I want to imagine Sheba revealing her ankles, ready to wade in water. / I want to wade in mine. I want to go until our biology stops us.”

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 →