I grew up in New York City and lived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Goshen, Indiana; DeKalb, Illinois; and Salt Lake City, Utah before coming to Utica, New York. My mother’s family is Swiss-German Mennonite (i.e., it’s an ethnicity, not necessarily a theological persuasion) and my father’s family is Puerto Rican. I have a Ph.D. in English and currently teach at Utica College. I have also taught at Northern Illinois University and Westminster College in Salt Lake City.
My teaching and scholarship are motivated by a passion for social justice, which is why my research is deeply influenced by queer writers of color and resides at the intersection of queer theory, affect theory, and disability studies. All of these fields play a role in my book Queering Mennonite Literature: Archives, Activism, and the Search for Community (Penn State University Press, 2019). As part of my interest in archiving, I maintain the three Mennonite/s Writing bibliographies that were initially compiled by Ervin Beck in the 1990s.
While I primarily read and write about prose, I am also a devoted reader of poetry because, as William Carlos Williams writes, “It is difficult / to get the news from poems / yet [people] die miserably every day / for lack / of what is found there.” Thinkers who influence me include Marina Abramovic, Di Brandt, Ana Castillo, Ann Cvetkovich, Samuel R. Delany, Jeff Gundy, Essex Hemphill, Jane Jacobs, Julia Spicher Kasdorf, Audre Lorde, Carmen Maria Machado, Sofia Samatar, Walt Whitman, and the New York School of poets. I am also fond of queer Mennonite writers such as Stephen Beachy, Jan Guenther Braun, Lynnette D’anna, and Casey Plett.
In my free time I’m either reading, writing the occasional poem, playing board games, watching sports (Let’s Go, Mets!), or cooking (curries, stews, roasts…).
My blog at this point is mostly a log of the books I acquire, though occasionally I will post about other topics.