Books Acquired Recently

The Laurel Poetry Series.
The Laurel Poetry Series.

Blake, William. Blake. Ed. Ruthven Todd. New York: Dell, 1960.

Browning, Robert. Browning. Ed. Reed Whittemore. New York: Dell, 1960.

Herbert, George. Herbert. Ed. Dudley Fitts. New York: Dell, 1962.

Herrick, Robert. Herrick. Ed. William Jay Smith. New York: Dell, 1962.

Jonson, Ben. Ben Jonson. Ed. John Hollander. New York: Dell, 1961.

Keats, John. Keats. Ed. Howard Moss. New York: Dell, 1959.

Marvell, Andrew. Marvell. Ed. Joseph H. Summers. New York: Dell, 1961.

Whitman, Walt. Whitman. Ed. Leslie A. Fiedler. New York: Dell, 1959.

I was at the grocery store yesterday, and they were having a used book sale to benefit a local charity. A set of books that was rubber-banded together immediately caught my eye because the cover of the top volume was clearly an illustration of Walt Whitman, one of my favorite writers. The books turned out to be selections from the Laurel Poetry Series. The set only cost $1.00, so I bought it because the books are so aesthetically pleasing. It was definitely an instance of appreciating books-as-furniture. While I enjoy the work of Whitman, Blake, and Herrick, I’m not sure if I will actually read any of the books, but they deserve a good home, which I will give them. They are all in very good condition despite being from the 1960s. Several volumes have a stamp on the first page that reads “Dave Harralson English Department,” and a Google search quickly turned up a Dave Harralson who worked at Utica College (which is where I currently teach), so their provenance is established.

Waters, Sarah. The Paying Guests. New York: Riverhead, 2014.

The New Yorker had a brief review of Waters’s latest novel last week, and I bought it (on amazon.com) immediately, as she is one of my favorite writers. It is nearly 600 pages long, but I hope to find time to read it soon.

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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