This past weekend the Mennonite/s Writing VII conference was held at Fresno Pacific University. It was an excellent time, and as usual the conference had a wide variety of books by authors in attendance available. Despite the fact that I buy most pieces of Mennonite literature as soon as I find out about them, I still managed to come away with four books from the conference, and could have bought more. It’s important to note that three of the four books I acquired are poetry. I haven’t been reading much poetry and I think that subconsciously I was craving it.
Dueck, Nathan. he’ll. St. John’s: Pedlar, 2014.
Dueck and I got to know each other at the conference and we have a lot of both literary and non-literary interests in common. It’s always enjoyable to buy a book written by someone who you like as a person.
Everwine, Peter. From the Meadow: Selected and New Poems. Pittsburgh: U of Pittsburgh P, 2004.
Everwine was one of the featured local writers at the conference (he is not Mennonite, but there is a tradition of having non-Mennonite keynote speakers at these conferences), and gave a fantastic reading on Thursday night. I had never encountered his work before, but his work had the audience spellbound and there was no question about whether I should buy one of his books afterward.
Klassen, Sarah. Monstrance. Winnipeg: Turnstone, 2012.
I actually wanted to buy a book of Klassen’s fiction, but she was sold out. However, upon seeing my disappointment she gave me this collection of poetry as a gift! What a sweet, gracious gesture. I will make sure to order some of her fiction to repay the favor.
Swartley, André. Americanus Rex. Bluffton: Workplay, 2009.
Swartley and I were in college together (he was in the first writing workshop I ever took), and it was good to reconnect at the conference. He had several novels available, and I chose this one based on its blurb. I am about two-thirds of the way through it and am enjoying it thus far.