News About People You Know.
By Robert Phillips. Huntsville: Texas Review Press (dist by TAMU), 2002. 1-881515-45-1 paperback $18.95 5 ½ x 8 ½ . 200 pp. http://www.shsu.edu/~www_trp/
Folks like William Goyen and Joyce Carol Oates like Robert Phillips’ writing, and so do I. Although originally a Delawarian, you may have noticed his occasional poetry reviews in the Houston Chronicle, and he’s served some time at the Texas Review literary journal up in Huntsville. For a while he directed UH Creative Writing Program where he now teaches as a Moores Scholar, and now well honored and awarded.
Most of his short works feature a Yankee fellow named Fallick, as is the case in News About, but some feature Texas venues. “May Day” features a Houston ham delivery man who meets up with a long lost attraction in a ritzy neighborhood, and they teeter on the edge of exposure. In a short, short scene of Laredo, “Jackhammer,” a youngster flitters on the edge of sexual awareness. In “Outsider” an Easterner in Texas struggles with his role as the newly comfortable facing the others’ struggle for survival amidst Halloween trivialities.
Finally, in “Rapture” a southwestern Texan and law enforcement officers sort out his wife’s sudden “ascension” and death on the highway in view of inflatable women drifting skyward, hilarious.