Books Acquired Recently

Baraka, Amiri. Dutchman and The Slave. 1964. New York: Harper, 2001.

I bought this book to use while completing my essay in the forthcoming Modern Language Association volume Approaches to Teaching Baraka’s Dutchman, for which it is the standard edition. However, I’ve never read The Slave before, and I look forward to it. I love Baraka’s work because it is so energetic and straightforward. Most people dislike his work because it is so angry, but I think his anger towards whites is justified, and I appreciate his ability to use literature as a political weapon while still maintaining a high level of aesthetic quality.

Irving, John. In One Person. New York: Simon, 2012.

I have enjoyed the two Irving novels I’ve read, The World According to Garp (which I really need to find time to re-read since I read it eleven years ago) and The 158-Pound Marriage, and In One Person received a glowing review from The New Yorker, so I thought I would read it because its main character is bisexual, which is a major rarity.

Both books bought at amazon.com.

Published by danielshankcruz

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 focuses on the literature of oppressed groups, especially LGBT persons and people of color. While I primarily read and write about fiction, 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, Kathy Acker, Di Brandt, Ana Castillo, Samuel R. Delany, Percival Everett, Essex Hemphill, Jane Jacobs, 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 Dueck/D’anna, and Casey Plett. In my free time I’m either reading, writing the occasional poem, playing board games (especially Scrabble, backgammon, and chess), watching sports (Let’s Go, Mets!), or cooking (curries, stews, roasts…).

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