Richa Gupta recently interviewed the wonderful Brynne Rebele-Henry, whose poetry appeared in the 2nd issue of Moledro. Brynne has also released her new book 'Fleshgraphs'! To learn more, read the interview below:
R: Hi Brynne! We’re honored to be able to interview you! But before we start, could you tell us about your background as a person and writer?
B: Hi! Thank you for having me! As for my background, I started writing when I was a child, and then actually gave up writing to pursue fashion illustration and design (I wanted to create femme gender neutral dresses). Then, I studied sculpture and painting for a while; mainly I did nude portraits and abstract pieces that mirrored/deconstructed bodies. I worked a lot with natural and artificial materials, combining the two—I had a series of sculptures made out of bedazzled birch bark curls, safety pins, thread, acrylic, and gold paint. The series was kind of an anti-bodily piece, trying to dispel the sort of male-gaze, imposed delicacy that is often projected onto women’s bodies. I mainly sculpted and painted for a few years, before I eventually returned to writing.
R: Your words are cutting, devastating, and brilliantly reminiscent. Could you tell us a bit more about your writing process?
B: My process is different with each genre. Often with longer manuscripts I start projects in lists, by writing down words, titles, ideas, stray scenes, details. Then, once I have enough snapshots, I start working on the book itself. I dream titles or scenes a lot—I dreamed a story about a little boy who thinks his mother is haunting him before I wrote it.
R: A lot of us have read your piece ‘The Glass House’, which was the winner of the 2016 Adroit Prize for Prose. What inspired you to write the piece?
B: Well, it’s actually the first prose piece I ever wrote. There are two protagonists: Natalie, the narrator in the excerpt that won the award, and James, the second narrator. Mainly, I think the feeling of being lost in some way, or the experience of loss, and all of the different kinds of sadnesses, and the queer feminine experience, were all things that I drew from my life for the book.
R: So your new book (Fleshgraphs) will be released soon! What are the prime themes you explore in your book?
B: It mainly explores sexuality, rape culture, the internet, and internet confessions. I chose the title because I wrote the book as a graph of flesh, flesh experiences, and also because the book is literally formatted in graphs about bodies.
R: That's really interesting! What do you believe is the hardest part about writing a book?
B: For me, the hardest part of writing a book is trying to weave all of the small threads, story lines, ideas, people, and words together without losing any of the strings. Especially with longer works.
R: So which poets do you read most often?
B: I read Ocean Vuong, Aidan Forster, Peter LaBerge, Natalie Eilbert, Monica McClure, Danez Smith, Tarfia Faizullah, Claudia Rankine, and Danielle Pafunda most often, because they all have an amazing command of language, and their poems are all incredibly brilliant and incredibly vital.
R: As of today, what are your plans for the future? Do you plan to major in English/creative writing in college?
B: Right now, I’m trying to sign with a publisher for my fiction and nonfiction! After that, who knows! One of my long term goals is to help establish LGBTQ+ safe spaces and communities.
R: I bet a lot of our readers are aspiring writers and poets themselves! Do you have any advice for them?
B: My advice would be: write whatever most scares you.
Brynne Rebele-Henry’s fiction, and poetry have appeared in such journals as The Volta, So to Speak, Adroit, Pine Hills Review, and The Offending Adam among other places, and is forthcoming in Denver Quarterly, Prairie Schooner, and Fiction International. Her book Fleshgraphs was published by Nightboat Books in September 2016. She was born in 1999 and currently lives in Richmond, Virginia.