An Interview With Brynne Rebele-Henry
BRYNNE REBELE-HENRY'S poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have appeared in such journals as Denver Quarterly, Prairie Schooner, Fiction International, Rookie, The Volta, and So to Speak: A Feminist Journal of Language and Art, among other places. Her writing has won numerous awards, including the 2015 Louise Louis/Emily F. Bourne Poetry Award from the Poetry Society of America and the 2016 AdroitPrize for Prose. She is the founding editor of Fissure, a magazine dedicated to young LGBT+ writers and artists. Her book Fleshgraphs will appear from Nightboat Books in September 2016. She was born in 1999 and currently lives in Richmond, Virginia. She can be found on her website, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Here at L'Ephemere Review, we are overjoyed to be joined by acclaimed writer and poet, Brynne Rebele-Henry. Her writing is pain-stakingly gorgeous, soft and cutting—cocktails of emotion. Please join us and our resident nonfiction editor Olivia Hu in welcoming the amazing Brynne with loving arms. Today, we are celebrating the forthcoming launch of her book, Fleshgraphs, which is coming out this month from Nightboat Books.
OLIVIA HU: Hi Brynne! Thank you so much for joining us today. We are so honoured to speak with you, and talk about your exciting forthcoming book, Fleshgraphs!
BRYNNE REBELE-HENRY: Thank you for having me!
We are such admiring fans of all of your work and writing. Tell us a little bit about the type of writing you do.
I write about queerness and bodies, violence, our current culture and how it treats women and femmes, sex and sexuality, and gritty-girl myths. I write primarily fiction, nonfiction, poetry, hybrid stuff, and I just started writing screenplays as well.
What are some general themes/topics that you find yourself writing about?
Bodies, things that happen to bodies, sex, art, loss, the experience of being lost, and illness.
We feel that sometimes a writer's work is shaped by past experiences or their own perspectives. How much of your life do you think plays into your writing?
I write a lot about femmeness, being a femme lesbian, experiences within that, female pain, and the things bodies carry. Other than those common experiences the majority of my work is strictly non-biographical. I only recently started writing autobiographical work (I'm currently working on a collection of personal essays).
What inspires you to write? Are there any creative processes that come through every piece?
My writing process for each genre is different: most poems and short stories I write in in-between places; on trains, planes, late at night, in museums. When I write poems or poetry collections, I write them all at once (I wrote my newest manuscript in two days, without stopping). With longer fiction and nonfiction it's more planned and scheduled—I draft everything out and keep all of the notes and papers in binders and schedule times that I'm going to write (once, I had a novel that I wrote strictly between midnight and two in the morning). I also plan my novels and nonfiction out a year to six months in advance: I have all of my novels and nonfiction book planned out for the coming year, down to the dates I start and finish them.
Thank you so much for your beautiful words, Brynne. Now, we are so eager to talk about Fleshgraphs, which was what initially brought you here to the interview! Can you tell us a little bit about the book?
It comes out this September with Nightboat Books!
Beautiful! We are so excited for it to launch. What was your inspiration for the book, the general message and themes? We'd love to know what ideas the book surrounds itself with.
It's about the Internet, Internet confessions, rape culture, and bodies. I wrote it when I was fourteen as a feminist response to the Internet/the way women are treated in the world and online.
Should we buy the book?
I hope you will! I was actually really surprised by the responses I started getting when I first started publishing excerpts of Fleshgraphs online; a lot of people messaged me about how it affected them, or disturbed them, or made them laugh, or think differently about the world and bodies, which was really amazing.
Just kidding! Of course! We love you dearly. We will definitely be buying the book this fall.
We know that you write in so many forms and have appeared in so many other acclaimed journals, etc. Is there any other work that you want to tell us about?
I'm currently working on an essay about the history of sex, violence, and voyeurism in our culture, and I'm working on a lesbian YA novel about Orpheus.
Thank you so much for talking, dearest Brynne! We are so honored that you joined us here today at L'Ephemere Review. Thank you for blessing us with your gracious words. We are so excited for Fleshgraphs and most definitely will be picking up a copy of your gut-wrenching craft!
Thank you so much for having me! It's an honor.
OLIVIA HU: Bye! Thank you again for taking the time to join us.