Books Acquired Recently: Friends Edition

Plett, Casey. Little Fish. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2018.

I received a review copy of this novel by fellow queer Mennonite Casey Plett from the Pacific Journal, which has asked me to write a review for its Fall 2018 issue. Plett and I are friends and I had the privilege of reading several drafts of the book in manuscript. It is so cool to see it in print! Plett’s first book, A Safe Girl to Love, won a Lambda Literary Award, and Little Fish is good enough that it has an excellent chance of doing the same.

Threadgill, Elizabeth. Tangled in the Light. Georgetown, KY: Finishing Line Press, 2018.

My friend and Utica College colleague Elizabeth Threadgill just had her first chapbook of poetry published. I read it last night and enjoyed it because of its minimalist, almost haiku-esque style.

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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