Books Acquired Recently

Kasdorf, Julia Spicher, and Michael Tyrell, eds. Broken Land: Poems of Brooklyn. New York: 2007.

Kasdorf is one of my favorite poets/literary critics, and a friend, and this is the only one of her books that I had not had. Used copies are now available for a reasonable price from amazon.com’s network of independent sellers (which is where I also acquired Rotella’s book). When I received it in the mail I discovered that it is inscribed by Tyrell (I have a fair number of books with inscriptions that I acquired used, and they always make me sad even though I am excited to have the author’s autograph. Why did the person mentioned in the inscription get rid of the book? Did they forget it was inscribed? Did they die? Did they have to cull their library due to financial hardship? None of the possibilities are good.), so I will have to get it inscribed by Kasdorf at some point to complete the set!

Rotella, Alexis. Beards and Wings. Cairnbrook: White Peony, 1985.

I recently read some of Rotella’s haiku in an anthology and really enjoyed them, and thus decided to buy one of her collections. Many of them are out of print, as is this one, but I was able to find a used copy for a little over $2.00.

Vega, Marta Moreno, Marinieves Alba, and Yvette Modestin, eds. Women Warriors of the Afro-Latina Diaspora. Houston: Arte Publico, 2012.

I was given this collection of essays and poetry by a friend. It looks fascinating, and there are several essays about the Puerto Rican experience that I am especially excited to read.

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Books Acquired Recently: Holiday Stragglers Edition

I have received a few more books in the last week that I purchased with holiday cash from amazon.com’s network of sellers.

Benjamin, Walter. The Arcades Project. Tr. Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin. Cambridge: Belknap-Harvard, 1999.

I recently read about this work, Benjamin’s notes and clippings for a book about arcades in 1880s Paris that he was never able to write due to his untimely death during World War II, and was immediately intrigued by it because of its obsessive nature. I also love books that somehow stretch the codex form, as this one does as a reproduction of a number of excerpts rather than a longer, single text. It was less than $30.00, which feels like a steal for such a massive (over 1,000 pages) volume.

Gurga, Lee, and Scott Metz, eds. Haiku 21. Lincoln: Modern Haiku, 2011.

Van Den Heuvel, Cor, ed. The Haiku Anthology. 3rd ed. New York: Norton, 1999.

As part of my continuing explorations of haiku I have been trying to read lots of anthologies to get a sense of the field. Van Den Heuvel’s is apparently the bastion of traditional haiku, whereas Gurga and Metz both advocate for a more innovative aesthetic. I lean toward the latter, but it is helpful to read examples of both, and Van Den Heuvel’s anthology of baseball haiku is what got me interested in the genre in the first place. From what I know so far, it seems like an essential aspect of the haiku spirit is to keep an open mind.

 

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Books Acquired Recently: Holiday Edition

I received a number of books as holiday gifts this year, and have ordered some others with holiday cash as well. Here is what has come in thus far:

Beary, Roberta. Deflection. Lexington: Accents, 2015.

This short poetry collection of mostly haiku is by one of today’s premier haiku writers. I read it a few days ago and it is magnificent.

Ebershoff, David. The Danish Girl. 2000. New York: Penguin, 2015.

My partner and I have adopted the Icelandic tradition of giving each other books on Christmas Eve (the Icelandic term for this practice translates as “Christmas Eve book flood,” which has to be the best word ever), and this is the one they gave me this year. I am close to halfway through it and it keeps getting more and more compelling.

Jackson, Helen Hunt. Ramona. 1884. New York: Signet, 2002.

A colleague recommended this book to me. I am intrigued to observe how Jackson depicts the mix of cultures in the Old West.

Ozeki, Ruth. A Tale for the Time Being. New York: Penguin, 2013.

I have not read any of Ozeki’s work before, but my brother-in-law recommended this novel, and in reading some about Ozeki she sounds like a fascinating person. I am especially intrigued by her practice of Zen Buddhism, as I have been exploring Buddhism lately as part of my recent obsession with haiku.

Reichhold, Jane. Writing and Enjoying Haiku: A Hands-on Guide. New York: Kodansha, 2013.

As noted above, I have become obsessed with haiku. I thought it would be helpful to read a manual about writing it, and this one has had good reviews.

Rushdie, Salman. Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights. New York: Random, 2015.

I love Rushdie’s work and am excited to have acquired his new novel. It is rather short compared to most of his books (286 pages), which means that it would be possible to teach it to undergraduates. I have taught The Satanic Verses before and while it is a wonderful book, it is very difficult to keep a class’s attention for as long as it takes to read and study it (about a month).

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Books Acquired Recently

Lee, Catherine J.S., ed. A Splash of Water: Haiku Society of America Members’ Anthology 2015. New York: Haiku Society of America, 2015.

Each year the Haiku Society of America publishes an anthology of work by its members on a specific theme, and each member receives a copy. This year’s theme was water. I’ve read about half of it thus far, and despite the repetition of subject matter a number of the poems are compelling.

Zacharias, Robert, ed. After Identity: Mennonite Writing in North America. University Park: Penn State UP, 2015.

I was very excited to receive this book in the mail today because it is my contributor’s copy! My essay, “Queering Mennonite Literature,” appears on pages 143-58. The book is a collection of revised essays from a 2013 symposium at Penn State on identity issues in Mennonite literature. My essay is nestled between chapters by Di Brandt and Jeff Gundy, two poets and  critics whose work has played a major role in my life, and it is a dream come true to be published alongside them. Another of my favorite poets, Julia Spicher Kasdorf, also has an essay in the volume.

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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 abebooks.com.

 

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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 amazon.com’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 amazon.com’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 grantland.com 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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