Books Acquired Recently: Cincinnati Edition

This weekend I went to the Cincinnati Mennonite Arts Weekend for the first time. It was so much fun! Of course I bought some books. I also visited the Half Price Books near my hotel, where I purchased Roberts’, Brown’s, and Sohl’s texts.

Brown, Rita Mae. Poems. Freedom, CA: Crossing Press, 1987.

I love Brown’s classic lesbian novel Rubyfruit Jungle, but am unfamiliar with her poetry. I got this copy of her early poems in excellent shape for only $5.48.

Lachman, Becca J.R. Other Acreage. Boston: Gold Wake Press, 2015.

Lachman was one of the featured speakers at the event, and I was able to have my copy of her book signed, something that is still always exciting!

Roberts, JR. Black Lesbians: An Annotated Bibliography. Tallahassee, FL: Naiad Press, 1981.

I bought this book simply for archiving purposes because I love old books. It’s in great shape and I got it for only $2.98. It is an excellent example of the hugely important preservation and recovery work undertaken by feminists and queers in the 1970s and early 1980s that got published by tiny independent presses because large publishers assumed (often incorrectly) that there was not a market for it.

Samatar, Del, and Sofia Samatar. Monster Portraits. Brookline, MA: Rose Metal Press, 2018.

I am friends with Sofia Samatar and hanging out with her was one of the highlights of my weekend. Her new book, which includes artwork by her brother that she then responds to in prose, is officially coming out later this month, but she had some copies with her for sale.

Sohl, Jerry. Night Slaves. Greenwich, CT: Gold Medal Books, 1965.

Half Price Books had a rack at the front of the store full of old pulp fiction paperbacks. I bought this one for $3.00 because it sounds kinky: the villain keeps the inhabitants of a planet hypnotized and the hero has to try to stop him.

Wideman, Johnny. This Will Lead to Dancing. Stouffville, ON: Theatre of the Beat, 2014.

—. To Aid Digestion: A Collection of Short Stories and Poems. Stouffville, ON: Theatre of the Beat, 2017.

I had never heard of Theatre of the Beat, a Mennonite acting troupe, but they gave an amazing, moving performance of This Will Lead to Dancing on Saturday afternoon. Their work is focused on queer issues, and is thus immediately relevant to my scholarship on queer Mennonite literature.

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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