Books Acquired Recently

Faulkner, William. Requiem for a Nun. 1951. New York: Vintage, 2011.

I am teaching Faulkner’s Sanctuary in an independent study this semester, and bought its sequel Requiem to read as part of my preparation.  Reading Faulkner is a guilty pleasure–his writing is beautiful, and he is an essential figure in the development of American literature, but for some reason his personal despicableness bothers me more than any other writer’s aside from Ezra Pound’s. I certainly believe in judging a book based on its artistic merits rather than on its author’s biography, but Faulkner’s statement that he would shoot African Americans down in the street if ordered to do so by Mississippi’s governor is difficult to get past.

Bought on

Poore, Michael. Up Jumps the Devil. New York: Ecco, 2012.

I received this book in my school mailbox today, presumably as an (unasked for) exam copy from the publisher as there was no note with it, so I doubt it is from a colleague. The secretaries usually open mail that isn’t obviously personal (which is weird because I feel bad having someone do a task for me that I could easily do myself, especially one that tends to be enjoyable. I, like Virginia Woolf with her servants, feel tremendously awkward around secretaries. I am uncomfortable with the power imbalance, it makes me feel bourgeois.), so I did not get a chance to see the return address. The novel, Poore’s first, sounds like it could be interesting, but it is not something that I would have bought myself, so who knows when I’ll get around to reading it.

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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