“I think open endings require a little more work of the reader; that, when a scene or story is left open, the reader gets to imagine for him/herself how things might’ve turned out.”
The stories in Don’t Ask Me to Spell It Out, Robert James Russell’s new chapbook out this month from WhiskeyPaper Press, follow a narrator perpetually on the verge. Over the course of 12 interlinked vignettes we see him come of age and stumble, get up and brush it off, always moving toward a greater understanding of what it means to be a son, a friend, a lover, a man. Russell is a quintessentially midwestern writer, and those who attended the recent Voices of the Middle West literary festival in Ann Arbor may remember him as a critical force in that conference—he helped bring in Stuart Dybek as the keynote speaker and organized panels featuring writers such Alissa Nutting and Laura Kasischke.
Can’t make AWP this year? Then come out this Saturday, March 21, for the Voices of the Middle West literary conference in Ann Arbor–a day featuring panels on writing and publishing plus words from keynote speaker Stuart Dybek. Michigan Quarterly Review will have a table at the festivities, so stop by the bookfair (in the atrium of the East Quad) to pick up a copy of our current issue. It’s dolphin-smooth and brand spanking new.