Books Acquired Recently: More Canadian Mennonites Edition

D’anna, Lynnette. fool’s bells. Toronto: Insomniac, 1999.

D’anna is the pen name of Lynnette Dueck, a Canadian writer of Mennonite origin. A friend who knows that I am interested in the intersection between sexuality and literature recommended D’anna/Dueck’s work to me; apparently it is quite explicit, which is a rarity in Mennonite literature. I may end up writing about it as a result. I’ve ordered a bunch of her books from amazon.com’s network of booksellers, and this is the first one to arrive (i.e., get ready for several more Books Acquired Recently entries on her work in the near future!).

Jacobsen, Annie, with Jane Finlay-Young and Di Brandt. Watermelon Syrup. Waterloo: Wilfred Laurier UP, 2007.

I acquired this novel because Brandt, one of my favorite poets, is listed as one of the authors, and I would love to read some fiction by her. As it turns out, she did not actually write any of the book. Jacobsen wrote it, but died before she could revise and publish it, so per her directions Finlay-Young revised it and had Brandt act as a consultant on the Mennonite issues in the book because Jacobsen had Mennonite ancestry and the novel includes several Mennonite characters. It looks interesting, but for different reasons than I first anticipated. I ordered it via amazon.com from Better World Books‘s United Kingdom branch; it was originally owned by a library in Chelsea.

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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