Books Acquired Recently

Auden, W.H. Selected Poems. Ed. Edward Mendelson. 1979. New York: Vintage, 1989.

I have been meaning to read Auden’s poetry for years now, and have often thought about buying a book of his, but for various reasons it didn’t happen. I found a used copy of his Selected Poems at Aaron’s Books in Lititz, Pennsylvania, for only $5.75 when I was visiting family for Thanksgiving, and decided that it was finally time to buy it.

Cook, Roy J., ed. One Hundred and One Famous Poems with a Prose Supplement. Chicago: Cable, 1929.

I received this from a coworker of my mother’s who knows that I  enjoy poetry. It is a small paperback book, rather beaten up (the back cover is missing, though all of the pages seem to be there), that originally cost $0.25 according to an advertising flyer within. It has poems by some well-known authors (Longfellow, Tennyson, George Eliot, Whittier, and so on) and some that I have never heard of before who must have been influential in the early twentieth century (the canon giveth and the canon taketh away, I suppose). It also contains Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Paine’s “give me liberty or give me death” essay, and the Magna Carta. The editor writes in the Preface that “Science and steel demand the medium of prose. Speed requires only the look–the gesture. What need then, for poetry? Great need!” How much truer now is this sentiment nearly a century later!

Espada, Martín. The Republic of Poetry. 2006. New York: Norton, 2008.

I am a big fan of the little of Espada’s poetry that I have read, and came across this collection while browsing at The Green Toad Bookstore in Oneonta, New York, recently. I decided to buy it immediately. I’ve already read it and it is excellent.

Friesen, Patrick. Interim: Essays & Meditations. Regina: Hagios, 2006.

Patrick Friesen is one of the writers who put Mennonite literature on the broader literary map, and I have enjoyed reading his poetry and drama throughout the years. I recently heard about this collection and decided to buy it, but it was difficult to find a copy because it was only published in Canada. I was able to find one for a reasonable price on


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Books Acquired Recently

Everett, Percival. Suder. 1983. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 1999.

I enjoy Everett’s fiction quite a lot, though I have not read nearly all of it because he is so prolific. I have been wanting to explore more of his work, and when I was doing some research on him recently to prepare to teach his novel Erasure in my American Literature After 1945 course, I read some about Suder, which I decided would be the next novel of his that I would read because it is about baseball.

This book and Kacian, et al.’s anthology were bought from’s network of independent sellers.

Kacian, Jim, Philip Rowland, and Allan Burns, eds. Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years. New York: Norton, 2013.

I have been getting obsessed with haiku lately, and read about this recent anthology in an issue of Frogpond, which is the journal of the Haiku Society of America. I am especially interested in the history of haiku in America and how the form has evolved in modern times, thus I am hoping that reading this anthology will increase my knowledge in both areas.

Swartley, André. The Wretched Afterlife of Odetta Koop. Newton: Workplay, 2015.

I received a review copy of this sequel to Swartley’s enjoyable novel Leon Martin and the Fantasy Girl, and look forward to reading it soon. Swartley does a good job of writing about Mennonite characters and issues in sincere, non-pedantic ways.

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Books Acquired Recently

I had a robust book-acquiring month in October as a result of several factors that happened to coincide: I went to a conference, I was making up book lists for next semester, I had a friend publish a book, I read some interesting book reviews, and so on. Unless otherwise noted, all of these books were acquired via’s network of independent sellers.

Brown, Box. Andre the Giant: Life and Legend. New York: First Second, 2014.

I read a review of this graphic biography on and it sounded fantastic, so I bought it immediately, as Andre was a major figure in my childhood as a result of his heart-wrenching feud with Hulk Hogan and his role as Fezzik in The Princess Bride.

Fisher, MFK. The Gastronomical Me. 1954. New York: North Point, 1989.

I discovered this book when doing research for a seminar on obsession that I am teaching next semester, and decided to check it out.

Fowles, John. The Collector. 1963. New York: Back Bay, 2010.

I have read Fowles’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman and enjoyed it, and then read about this novel in a list of books about obsession while doing research for the above-mentioned seminar. It sounded intriguing and I was able to find a cheap copy online, so I bought it.

Goldsmith, Kenneth. Sports. Los Angeles: Make Now, 2008.

I recently read an article about Goldsmith, a poet whom I had not previously heard of, in the New Yorker. He sounds like another one of the many, many writers (Hemingway, Faulkner, et al.) who are horrible people but write interesting work. This book is about baseball, so I thought I would check it out.

Hinojosa, Felipe. Latino Mennonites: Civil Rights, Faith, and Evangelical Culture. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 2014.

A few weeks ago I attended a Mennonite education conference at Bluffton University, and Hinojosa was one of the keynote speakers. I bought his book from the campus bookstore since I myself am a Latino Mennonite, but do not know very much about the history of this subgroup outside of those from New York City.

Nathan, Jesse. Cloud 9. Portland: Dikembe, 2015.

Nathan is a friend of mine, and I am excited to read his new chapbook of poems. I got an email from the publisher advertising it (presumably they got my email address from Nathan) for only $8.00, which is a steal considering that for a chapbook it’s quite lengthy–40 pages.

Perloff, Marjorie. Unoriginal Genius: Poetry By Other Means in the New Century. 2010. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2012.

I read about this book in the same article I read about Goldsmith’s book. I have been reading a lot of poetry for fun lately and thought that this book might give me some ideas for new poets to check out. Perloff is a controversial figure, but I must admit that I have enjoyed the work of hers (especially her book on Frank O’Hara) that I’ve read.

Shteyngart, Gary. Super Sad True Love Story. 2010. New York: Random, 2011.

I had heard of this book and was familiar with its distinctive, colorful cover from advertisements in the New Yorker several years ago, but never bothered to read what it was about. A friend recently recommended it to me and it sounded interesting enough to purchase.

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The Mets in the Postseason

The Mets will play their first postseason game since 2006 on Friday night in Los Angeles. It is hard to believe that it has been nine years. It doesn’t feel that long because all of the disappointing seasons since 2008 blend together in my mind, but when I think about where I am as a person compared to where I was then, I realize that a lot of time has passed. When the Mets lost the NLCS in 2006 I was in the first year of my Ph.D. program, I was still married, and I was living in Illinois. Now I have been out of school and Illinois for nearly four-and-a-half years, and my personal life is completely different. I think the reason it seems like fewer than nine years in baseball terms is that the pain of the 2006 loss and the 2007 and 2008 collapses still remains fresh in my mind.

But this year’s Mets have a chance to heal those memories. Although they had only the fifth-best record in the National League, their excellent pitching and resurgent hitting makes them dangerous, and enough weird things happened to them during the regular season that they seem like a team of destiny.

The team announced today that Juan Uribe will not play in the NLDS due to injury, and this is a loss because Uribe has lots of postseason experience and is a good bench presence, and although he hasn’t hit for a high average with the Mets, most of his hits have been in clutch spots. He’s also done a good job spotting David Wright at third base. However, Uribe’s absence does make the roster decisions easier, as now the team has room to carry 12 pitchers. Their roster should look something like this:

Catchers: Travis d’Arnaud, Kevin Plawecki

Infielders: Lucas Duda, Daniel Murphy, Wilmer Flores, David Wright, Kelly Johnson, Ruben Tejada

Outfielders: Michael Conforto, Yoenis Cespedes, Curtis Granderson, Michael Cuddyer, Juan Lagares

Starting Pitchers: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz (assuming he’s healthy; he had a good bullpen session today)

Relief Pitchers: Jeurys Familia, Tyler Clippard, Addison Reed, Jon Niese, Hansel Robles, Sean Gilmartin, Eric Goeddel, and either Bartolo Colon or Carlos Torres. Colon is a risk since he is not normally a reliever, but he’s been pitching better than Torres of late.

If Uribe is healthy for the NLCS, I would go with 11 pitchers because only four starters are needed, and I would leave either Jon Niese or Bartolo Colon/Carlos Torres off of the roster, whoever performed less well in the NLDS out of the bullpen. But if the Mets insist on sticking with 12 pitchers, I would leave Cuddyer off of the NLCS roster unless he gets red-hot.

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Book Acquired Recently: Mennonite Community Cookbook

Showalter, Mary Emma. Mennonite Community Cookbook. Scottdale: Herald, 1950.

I received this classic of Mennonite cooking from a colleague who had it but did not use it, and knows I am a Mennonite and thus thought I would be interested in it. I grew up with my mother using a number of recipes from her well-worn copy, and some of the first dishes I ever learned to cook (most notably meatloaf) were from it. I am very happy to now have my own copy. This one is from the twenty-fifth printing in July, 1980. The book is a revision of Showalter’s M.A. thesis in Home Economics and collects recipes from Mennonite women all over the U.S. and Canada, so aside from being a good cookbook it is also an important early Mennonite feminist text.

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Book Acquired Recently: Jeff Gundy’s Abandoned Homeland

Gundy, Jeff. Abandoned Homeland. Huron: Bottom Dog, 2015.

Gundy’s seventh full-length collection of poetry (to go along with four chapbooks) just came out, and of course I ordered it right away (from because he is one of my favorite poets. It is his second collection to be published in the past two years, as Somewhere Near Defiance came out in 2014. One of the reasons I love Gundy’s work is that he writes eloquently about place, and judging from the title of the new book it also examines this theme. Abandoned Homeland is his third collection with Bottom Dog Press (Inquiries and Rhapsody with Dark Matter are the others), one of the numerous small presses that do the essential work of keeping poetry in America alive. Unfortunately I won’t have time to read it for several weeks, but I can’t wait to do so!

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Books Acquired Recently

Ingraham, Garrett. This is a Microphone Stand. Utica: VBLP, 2015.

Ingraham is the co-owner of the Tramontane Cafe in Utica and a regular reader at the weekly Utica Poets Society open mic. His chapbook of poems was released last week and I bought a copy for $5.00. Upon flipping through it I discovered that it includes a number of photographs and illustrations along with the poetry, which is a feature that I wish more books of poetry would emulate.

Mirskin, Jerry. In Flagrante Delicto. DuBois: Mammoth, 2008.

Mirskin gave a poetry reading at Utica College yesterday and I really enjoyed his work. Aside from the good poems, he was wearing an attractive, simple, peach-colored button-down short-sleeve shirt. Also, he was born in the Bronx like me, so it was an easy decision to buy one of his books.

Yanagihara, Hanya. A Little Life. New York: Doubleday, 2015.

I recently read a review of this novel, which is one of the nominees for this year’s Booker Prize. It sounds interesting and I haven’t read any recent British literature in a while, so I decided to buy it. It is lengthy enough that I probably won’t be able to read it until the holiday break after the semester.

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