Books Acquired Recently

Deer Cloud, Susan. The Last Ceremony. Kanona: FootHills, 2007.

I bought this book today after Deer Cloud’s poetry reading at Utica College. It is always fascinating to hear poets read their work, and it is especially delightful when they read it well and when it is actually worth reading, which was the case in this instance. Deer Cloud had several of her books available for purchase at the reading, and I bought The Last Ceremony because it includes my favorite poem from the reading, “Marlon Brando Dies at 80,” a love poem to Brando that is motivated by both his activism on behalf of Native Americans and his sexiness. This poem and other samples of Deer Cloud’s work are available here. The book itself is a beautiful object, hand-bound with black thread and soothing lavender end sheets. It is worth its $16.00 price as an aesthetic artifact alone even before one considers the fine poetry contained therein.

Zacharias, Robert. Rewriting the Break Event: Mennonites and Migration in Canadian Literature. Winnipeg: U of Manitoba P, 2013.

I bought this book primarily because Zacharias is a friend of mine, though of course Mennonite literature is one of my scholarly interests, too. It’s nice to have the two converge! I am especially excited to read the chapter on Rudy Wiebe’s The Blue Mountains of China, a favorite novel of mine since I first read it in 2001.

Bought on

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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